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

By · March 18, 2013

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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.

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