Toyota plans to leapfrog Tesla electric cars by 2022 with fast charging solid state batteries

Toyota Motor Corp is working on an electric car powered by a solid state battery that significantly increases driving range and reduces charging time. Toyota aims to begin sales of solid battery electric cars in 2022, the Chunichi Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday.

Toyota’s new electric car, to be built on an all-new platform, will use all-solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

Japan believes that among new generation batteries, solid-state batteries are considered closest to the level of practical application required to equip vehicles for volume production. Toyota and Japan are working on research and development, including the production engineering of solid-state batteries, to commercialize them by the early 2020s.

Toyota’s roadmap is to develop solid state batteries and then metal air batteries and eventually some ideal form of battery.

Features of all-solid-state batteries

* Cases to enclose each cell are not necessary and direct layering is possible.
* Outstanding thermal resistance allows cooling and other systems to be reduced.
* Use with high voltages is possible, allowing energy density to be increased.

Making the batteries more compact enables them to be installed below the seats. This makes it possible to create a comfortable and roomy interior.

Toyota has been focusing on solid-state and Li-air batteries. At the latest Battery Symposium, battery researcher Shinji Nakanishi discussed a scenario for transitioning from Li-ion batteries to solid-state and then Li-air batteries. “We want our electric cars to go 500 km” on a single charge, he said. “And for this, we want rechargeable batteries that can generate 800 to 1,000 watt-hours per liter.” That would be two to three times the energy density of today’s best Li-ion batteries.

Panasonic, Tesla’s battery supplier, is also taking a hard look at solid-state technology. “We think the existing technology can still extend the energy density of Li-ion batteries by 20% to 30%,” President Kazuhiro Tsuga told Nikkei.

Toyota is also working power semiconductors to increase the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by a further 10%. Toyota is increasing their efficiency in order to improve fuel efficiency even further. They adopted silicon carbide (SiC) as a new material to take the place of silicon. They are conducting original development internally.

Toyota is reportedly planning to begin mass-producing EVs in China, the world’s biggest auto market, as early as in 2019, although that model would be based on the existing C-HR sport utility vehicle and use lithium-ion batteries.

Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing all-solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years.

Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes rather than liquid ones, making them safer than lithium-ion batteries currently on the market.