Earlier this week, Toyota joined forces with Japanese petroleum company Idemitsu to manufacture a mass-market solid-state battery for upcoming Toyota electric vehicles (EVs). The solid-state battery is set to debut in 2027 or 2028.
Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes. By contrast, conventional lithium-ion batteries use liquid or polymer gel electrolytes.
According to InsideEVs, Idemitsu has been involved in researching sulfide solid electrolytes for two decades. The company already operates a small-scale pilot facility.
Toyota’s battery technology roadmap indicates that the initial generation of solid-state batteries will provide a driving range of over 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) per full charge. In addition, the solid-state batteries will only require 10 minutes for an 80% recharge from a DC fast charger.
These specifications could give Toyota a massive advantage over competitors like Tesla. Most EVs on the market today have driving ranges of between 200 and 350 miles. Furthermore, it takes current EVs between 20 minutes and 1 hour to recharge to 80% using a DC fast charger.
Solid-state batteries also offer improved stability and smaller sizes than lithium-ion batteries.
The collaboration between Toyota and Idemitsu will encompass three stages. In the first stage, the companies will enhance sulfide solid electrolytes. In the second stage, the companies will build a large pilot facility for mass production. In the last stage, the companies will ensure that EVs with solid-state batteries can be viably mass-produced over the long-term.
While speaking with reporters, Toyota CEO Koji Sato acknowledged that EV makers have traditionally rejected solid-state batteries. Repeated charging and discharging causes fissures in solid-state batteries. These fissures lower battery performance.
However, Sato claims that Toyota has now developed fissure-resistant materials.
Toyota has partnered with Idemitsu because of Idemitsu’s expertise in materials technology. Idemitsu discovered valuable properties of sulfur battery components in the 1990s.
Combined, the two companies will own 195 materials technology patents. This is one of the greatest patent totals of any business partnership in the world.
Many EV analysts have been skeptical that Toyota’s solid-state batteries will ever be produced. As Toyota announces the deal with Idemitsu, it looks like these skeptics will be proven wrong.
Image Source: Bloomberg, https://shorturl.at/bEV19