Electric vehicles now use lithium-ion batteries, so it will be interesting to see if Toyota manages to push all-solid-state batteries to mainstream production. Solid-state batteries can be made smaller and lighter than the lithium-ion batteries that now power electric vehicles, but engineering such a battery at an attractive price point for mass production has been a challenge.
Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes, as opposed to the liquid ones used in lithium-ion batteries, making them safer.
The Chunichi Shimbun daily reported today that Toyota's new electric auto is going to be built on an all-new platform and that it's going to use solid-state batteries.
Volkswagen's electrification strategy is rolling ahead, with the automaker on course to develop and bring to market a variety of EVs in different segments starting in 2020.
Toyota is planning to set up its manufacturing set up in China for mass production of electric batteries. How quickly the new EVs will catch on would also depend largely on battery costs. Toyota's reticence about pure electrics has been linked to insufficient range now offered by lithium-ion batteries, making their use unappealing in smaller cars. This will thus be a long-range fast-charging electric vehicle.
Toyota isn't alone in racing toward solid-state batteries: Hyundai has shown interest in developing and commercializing this technology too.
Toyota isn't saying yet where its batteries will end up, but any edge here is bound to be a big boon for automakers looking at a future that increasingly seems like it'll be dominated by EVs.