The breakthrough technology could shorten charge times, increase range, and improve durability in electric cars.
Toyota’s hybrid vehicle range is on track to adopt solid-state battery technology by 2025, according to the Japanese marque’s Chief Scientist and Research Centre CEO Gill Pratt.
Unlike contemporary lithium-ion packs, solid-state batteries do not use liquid electrodes or electrolytes.
Many in the automotive industry see development of the technology as a key step towards faster charging times, extended lifecycles, improved safety, and longer range in electric vehicles.
Other claimed attributes include increased energy density, which would allow batteries to be smaller and lighter.
However, prohibitively-expensive production costs and engineering complexities have so far prevented mass production.
“Our plan is to commercialise [solid state batteries] in the first half of this decade, and we are on track to do just that,” Mr Pratt said, speaking to Autoline Network.
“Our particular use for them in the beginning – it’s a little bit unintuitive – we’re going to start by using them in hybrid vehicles, and the reason for that is, firstly, the battery pack is smaller so it’s less sensitive to cost, and second, the amount of cycling that goes on in a hybrid vehicle for the battery is actually a tougher test.
“One of the great hopes for solid-state batteries is – alongside greater energy density, long lifetimes, and lower cost – also a potential to charge them much faster.
“We want to start by putting them in vehicles where we believe they are both the most well-suited in terms of lifetime, and also that will exercise them sufficiently so that as cost continues to come down we can roll them out in the future in fully-electric vehicles.”
It’s currently unclear which models will initially be offered with the technology, or if they will be sold in Australia. Drive has contacted Toyota for further information, and this story will be updated if more information becomes available.
The Japanese car maker has faced widespread criticism in recent years for its perceived lack of long-term electrification plans.
However, last month it revealed more than a dozen new zero-emission models slated for launch before the end of this decade. These include SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks, sports cars and a ute.
Currently, Toyota is the world’s largest manufacturer of hybrid vehicles. In Australia, the powertrain layout accounts for approximately 30 per cent of all new sales.
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