Toyota has largely kept quiet on electric cars, instead focusing on its hybrid lineup and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Next decade, that's set to change, and the automaker will kick things off next year in a big way.
Speaking to Autocar on Tuesday, Toyota Chief Technology Officer Shigeki Terashi said the automaker will debut a vehicle equipped with a solid-state battery next year. The location? . Toyota has been keen to use the international spotlight to flex its muscles and zero-emissions powertrains.
Toyota confirmed Terashi's comments with Roadshow but underscored he "did not specify which vehicle it will be."
Solid-state batteries are, frankly, a big deal for automakers. They do not use a liquid electrolyte, as is the norm for today's lithium-ion batteries. The lack of a liquid property makes them far better suited to fast charging, plus they're far more energy dense (good for long driving ranges) and overheating risks are nearly eliminated with the technology.
The problem is there isn't really a proper mass-production process for these kinds of batteries, and until a company sorts this out, they're still not ready for prime time. Terashi acknowledged this and said while the vehicle will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a production vehicle won't be ready until the middle of next decade. But, when it is ready, it's going to find a place in a portfolio of Toyota EVs, he said.
Numerous automakers have begun the long process of researching and developing the holy grail of battery-electric vehicle technology. The US government recently Volkswagen whipped out its wallet last year to and Toyota, Nissan and Honda previously into solid-state batteries.to continue its research;
For the latter's effort, the three Japanese automakers hope to produce a solid-state battery pack capable of providing 340 miles of range, but by 2030, the hope is advances will lead to a battery good for 500 miles of range.
Originally published Oct. 22.
Update, Oct. 23: Adds comment from Toyota.