Toyota engineers have completed the prototype of groundbreaking solid-state battery.
The postponed Tokyo Olympics was meant to be taking place right now, but it's not only the athletes that will have to leave a disappointing year behind. It was at this event that Toyota had intended to debut a solid-state battery for electric vehicles.
However, despite the setback, Automotive News now reports that Toyota has produced a working prototype of the battery tech and has gone as far as installing them in concept vehicles for testing. This is promising news as solid-state batteries offer several advantages over more common lithium-ion batteries used in models like the Toyota RAV4 Prime.
For starters, solid-state batteries aren't as negatively affected by extreme temperatures, after numerous reports of EVs having a reduced range in bitterly cold winter weather. These batteries should also save weight while proving more durable than the batteries currently in use. A big plus is faster charging (zero to full in under 15 minutes for Toyota's current design) and a longer range; earlier this year, Samsung's solid-state battery was estimated to provide an EV with a 500-mile range.
Keiji Kaita is executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp's powertrain company, as well as field general manager of its battery business, and said that Toyota still plans for limited production of the batteries by 2025, but there remain challenges still to be overcome.
Manufacturing the prototype cells is a complex and slow process, as they must be developed in a nonaqueous environment that is extremely dry. This necessitates the use of small transparent booths which workers access with rubber gloves. Right now, the procedure is unsuitable for mass production. Another factor will be in developing solid-state batteries at a cost significantly under $100 per kilowatt; only then can the tech be competitive with conventional powertrains.
While it will be some time before your electric vehicle is fitted with a solid-state battery, at least Toyota is on track to meet its 2025 goal and what could be the next big step forward for EVs.