Get ready for double the range and a fraction of the charging time.
Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in modern electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and the fuel-cell Toyota Mirai. While they can offer a reasonable range and acceptable charging times, they can't compete with the possibilities promised by solid-state batteries. Earlier this year, we reported that Toyota had already tested its solid-state battery in certain concept vehicles, with a limited production of these batteries slated to begin around 2025.
It looks as though we won't have to wait that long to see what these batteries are capable of, as Toyota is set to unveil a prototype vehicle with the technology in 2021. According to Nikkei Asia, Toyota aims to be the first automaker to sell an EV with a solid-state battery in the early part of the 2020s.
With Volkswagen increasing its stake in the startup QuantumScape earlier this year, and with QuantumScape's rapid progression in the development of solid-state batteries, the race to get a production EV on the market with these batteries may just come down to the two automotive giants.
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, recharging a car with a solid-state battery will take as little as 10 minutes, while the range will be over double what it is with current EVs using lithium-ion batteries. For reference, the impressive Lucid Air has a range of up to 517 miles and can add 300 miles of range in around 20 minutes, so you can only imagine what a big leap forward solid-state batteries will be.
By addressing the inconveniences of range and charging times, these vehicles are likely to accelerate the banning of gas engines. Of course, the major challenge is to get these EVs on the road at scale and at a cost that is comparable to conventionally-powered vehicles, as well as EVs with lithium-ion batteries. Potentially, solid-state batteries could also dramatically improve the performance of plug-in hybrids like the RAV4 Prime, a vehicle that also utilizes a lithium-ion battery.
Toyota's commitment to the technology is highlighted by the company's more than 1,000 patents related to solid-state batteries. With the Japanese government's plan to generate a $19.2-billion fund for the backing of decarbonization tech and numerous Japanese manufacturers able to produce the solid electrolytes required, Toyota is on track to be one of the first to showcase how a solid-state battery could revolutionize the EV market.