Toyota Targets 2020 For 600-Mile Solid State Electric Car Battery

By · March 18, 2013

Toyota EV Badge

In 2008, Toyota established a research division to work on “revolutionary batteries.” The company's work on a breakthrough battery dates back all the way to 1925, when Sakichi Toyoda reportedly set out a (yet-to-be-claimed) prize of 1 million yen for the invention of a storage battery that would produce more energy than gasoline. Last week, Automotive News reported that Toyota claims it will commercialize solid state batteries "around 2020," nearly a century after the challenge was established.

Shigeki Suzuki, Toyota's managing officer for material engineering, said solid state batteries will be up to four times more powerful than today's lithium ion batteries. He also said that lithium-air batteries, that will soon follow solid state technology, will be five times as powerful.

Toyota EV Slide

This graph first surfaced in 2008, when Toyota established a research division to work on “revolutionary batteries.”

"Next-generation battery cells need to exceed the energy density in lithium ion batteries significantly," Suzuki said. "We've been accelerating our development of those next-generation batteries technologies since 2010." As in 1925, the ultimate goal is to develop a battery technology that has comparable energy density to gasoline. Suzuki said today's lithium ion batteries only offer about one-fifth the energy density of gasoline. Solid state batteries are praised for their stability and durability.

Suzuki didn't lay out Toyota's specific milestones on the path to commercializing a breakthrough battery. Meanwhile, the company continues to focus primarily on conventional hybrids, and to a lesser degree, the plug-in version of the Prius. Its pure electric cars are produced in very limited numbers. The Toyota RAV4 EV is sold only in California.


· · 4 years ago

cool. I'll take a 240 kwh battery. How much $$$?

· · 4 years ago

Oh man, Bill
Where is your limit :D
I can't imagine charging a 240 Kwh baterry, plus even after like 500 000 miles you would put minimal ware on it.
240kw is an overkill

· · 4 years ago

240KWh is NOT overkill at all. That is barely good enough for a 700 miles range. About enough for a day's long drive.

That is also about 100A for 10 hours overnight charging...

· · 4 years ago

Solid state lithium batteries are here today, but they're currently very small and rather expensive. Infinite Power solutions in Colorado makes them in sizes up to 2.2mAh @ 4.1V (9.02mWh) in a paper thin form factor. DigiKey will sell you one at a retail level for about $85
. . .

This MEC battery is from the same folks who produced this video, which I've posted on this blog a number of times . . .

Beyond increased power and energy density potential of something like this, things like thermal runaway (including expensive/heavy/complex thermal management systems) and the dangers associated with puncturing of the cell should be a thing of the past, or at least significant reduced from what we have to deal with in today's aqueous electrolyte cells.

While some here with scads of money and extraordinarily robust bladders want a 240Kwh / 700 mile range version for a land yacht (you guys are joking, right?,) I'd be interested at first to see 90 of the above MEC cells configured into a 1.98Ah @ 36.9V (73Wh) pack for a minimalist front geared hub pedal-assist e-Bike build up. Unfortunately, I don't have the $765 hanging around here to make that little miracle battery pack happen. :-(

I do, though, have about one tenth that amount kicking around my bank account on any given week and may assemble a pretty darn nice 2.9Ah @ 36V (104.4Wh) mini pack made from ten 18650 LiNiCoAl cells sometime later this year. These are here today, relatively cheap and have better specs (except, perhaps, for total number of charge/discharge cycles) than today's more common LiFePO4 and even LiCoO2.

But there is a lot of promise in what can be obtained with a solid state lithium battery down the road. Beyond Toyota, companies who are working on large scale automotive solid state batteries include Planar Energy . . .

and Sakti3 . . .

· · 4 years ago


Thanks for the moral support, MMF. Yeah just because its not common today doesn't mean 240 kwh or even 500 kwh wont one day be commonplace. Floppy drives started out at 100k bytes but now usb sticks that are used for the same thing are between 4 and 64 gb, so what's that? Like 500,000 times bigger?

I'd like to drive to chicago and back and not have to constantly be worrying about finding a plug, or the hastle of waiting for a recharge. Since I don't make a long trip every single day, I don't care if the thing takes 3 days to fully recharge again at my 30 amp charger dock. I just unplug the thing and drive during the day , then come home and plug it in, same as I do with my celly. Automatically , the car will be fully charged 3 or 4 days later. Who cares when its done?

· · 4 years ago

Maybe it will happen some day. These batteries match with a small ice generator can make a cheap very efficient hybrid car.

· · 4 years ago

i don't get it. they recently said they were abandoning electric vehicle development to concentrate on hydrogen fuel cell. mixed messages or another dysfunctional auto maker?

· · 4 years ago

I think someone mentioned on this blog a few months ago, ghallgren, that any time an auto company says they will never be selling a pure electric car, they've got rooms full of engineers and scads of cash thrown into EV research, largely out of sight of the consumer. My guess is that Toyota's fuel cell program is still underway but that there has been recent good news in advancing solid state battery technology that they're now willing to leak it to the public.

· · 4 years ago

I suspect very high capacity battery packs are of less interest than much less costly ones. There are vanishingly few ICEVs (some diesels perhaps?) with 700 miles range; that would be, e.g., 35 mpg with a 20 gallon tank, and small cars have smaller tanks while bigger vehicles get lower MPG. On the other hand, 150 mile range for a fraction of the size, weight, and cost of the current crop of 15-25kwH packs - hey, that would really change the market.

Getting back to the larger battery capacity, the question of slamming enough current to get it charged in a reasonable amount of time is a serious one. While I understand BillH's use case, which can justify spending 3-4 days to charge the car, I don't imagine it's particularly common, nor do I anticipate that many would be willing to pay a premium for the privilege. The alternative, a 22kW home charger (as MMF suggests) is unlikely to be workable - that's nearly the draw of a Fuji CHAdeMO station (25kW), generally regarded as the limit of what can be installed at a commercial site without special support from the power utility. Unless/until we have a true smart grid to manage and schedule the requested power draws, I don't expect too many such beasts would be approved for residential use.

Still, a very promising story, especially when you consider that it's coming from one of the more EV-skeptic manufacturers.

· · 4 years ago

I just need a 1000 A-H battery that is physically smaller than the HupSolar batteries and that doesn't have the Hydrogen venting issues of lead-acid batteries. Also, it would be nice if the battery doesn't have the low charge battery freezing concerns of deep-cycle batteries ... I need this so I can safely use Solar in my RV.

· · 4 years ago

1000 A-H @ 24 Volts ... Yep, a nice 24 KW-H for the the RV. Good enough for a small air conditioner for those Arizona summer nights in my RV.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.