This is when we will see solid-state batteries from Toyota
- Toyota is revealing a roadmap for several types of batteries that it plans to begin production during the current decade, with four separate families of batteries designated for different vehicles.
- The Japanese automaker plans to introduce solid-state batteries for its vehicles in the 2027-28 time frame, anticipating a quick charging time of 10 minutes or less.
- Toyota is also working on LFP batteries, which will arrive soon and will target less expensive mass-produced models, promising a significant cost reduction compared to the batteries currently used in the bZ4X.
Toyota may be just getting started in the electric vehicle race — it has one battery-electric model on sale — but the automaker is already planning several generations to come when it comes to batteries. It has unveiled a detailed roadmap for its battery technology while launching a battery electric vehicle factory in Europe, which is nothing short of ambitious.
The automaker revealed plans for four next-generation batteries that it intends to produce in the coming years, each with different goals, technology, ranges and price points.
When it comes to batteries with liquid electrolytes, Toyota divides them into three separate categories.
First, the automaker’s high-performance lithium-ion battery technology is scheduled to arrive in 2026, promising a range of more than 497 miles (800 km) as well as a 20% reduction in cost compared to the current lithium-ion batteries found in the bZ4X. This category of battery also promises a fast recharging time of 20 minutes or less.
The second battery family is called Popularization, and will be a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) formulation that promises a 20% increase in range as well as a 40% reduction in cost, compared to the bZ4X. This type of battery is scheduled to arrive in 2026 or 2027, and will target a fast recharging time of half an hour or less.
So the recharging process will be a little slower, but it will still provide more range than the battery in the company’s first electric SUV.
“We will need different battery options, just as we have different types of engines,” said Takeru Kato, head of the BEV factory. “It is important to offer battery solutions that are compatible with a variety of models and customer needs.”
The third type of battery that Toyota plans to bring into production in the coming years is simply called “high performance,” combining a high-nickel cathode and bipolar structure with lithium-ion chemistry. This battery promises to be 10% less expensive to produce than the Performance type, and will also offer a charging time of 20 minutes or less. This type of battery is currently expected to arrive in 2027 or 2028.
Finally, Toyota is also working on solid-state battery technology, which remains the holy grail for battery developers. Even with a few claimed breakthroughs by a number of tech startups, solid-state batteries aren’t expected to arrive until the second half of the decade in a best-case scenario, according to most estimates. Toyota’s efforts also reflect this view.
As with other developers, Toyota has been working on solid-state installations for several years, hoping to combine a more compact design that can hold more power with fast charging and discharging capabilities.
“The trade-off, until now, has been an expected shorter battery life. However, Toyota’s recent technological advances have overcome this challenge and the company has shifted its focus to putting solid-state batteries into mass production,” Toyota notes.
This type of battery is still expected to arrive this decade, by 2027 or 2028 according to the automaker’s internal estimates, promising a 20% increase in range over even a performance battery pack, and a fast charging time of 10 minutes or less – both Ambitious goals.
But Toyota is betting on another factor to increase the range of electric cars even with these next generations of batteries: aerodynamics. This means that the batteries must be flat.
“If the height of the battery can be reduced, it means that the overall height of the vehicle can be reduced, the CdA can be improved and the overall range can be increased,” the automaker points out.
We’ve already gotten a preview of how low Toyota will go with the new 2023 Prius Hybrid, which features a very sleek windshield to squeeze more aerodynamic efficiency. This thinking will be applied to battery packs as well, Toyota hints.
“Today the height of the bZ4X battery pack, including the casing, is approximately 150 mm,” the automaker noted. “Tomorrow, Toyota plans to reduce the battery height to 120 mm, and even 100 mm in the case of high-performance sports cars where a low hip position is also desirable.”
Of course, before all these batteries arrive, Toyota has to bring more electric vehicles to market with its existing technology, which has been off to a bit of a shaky start with the issues seen in the bZ4X’s debut.
The automaker’s rare and embarrassing stumble has renewed concerns that it was trying to make up for lost time when it comes to battery R&D, after largely ignoring the electric vehicle craze of the 2000s and spending time and money on hydrogen technology.
Will we see significant range gains and cost reductions when solid-state batteries reach the market, to the point that many… Will US states be able to move to ZEV-only sales by 2035? Let us know what you think.
Guy Ramey grew up around very exotic European cars, and instead of looking for something reliable and comfortable for his personal use, he was drawn to the more adventurous side of the reliability spectrum. Although French cars have been following him over the past decade, he has somehow managed to avoid ownership of a Citroën, considering it too mundane, and is currently eyeing cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013.