Toyota might wait until 2022 to unveil its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, which would put it well behind the curve. But if its EV packs the revolutionary battery a report claims it will, then it'll be worth every minute of that wait.
Toyota will start selling a long-range electric car in 2022, Reuters reports, citing a story in Japan's Chunichi Shimbun. It will be built on an all-new platform, but what's most remarkable about this car isn't the platform or the range -- it's the type of battery powering it all.
The report claims that this 2022 EV will pack solid-state batteries, which would make it the first major automaker effort to rely on this kind of battery. The Japanese outlet reports that these batteries would enable a recharge in the span of a few minutes, as opposed to the 20-30 minutes that modern cars require with the latest fast-charging hardware. Toyota declined to comment, saying it does not discuss future product plans.
The long-range EVs on sale right now make use of lithium ion batteries, which pack the best density-to-cost ratio currently available for production. Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte, instead of liquid, and benefits include a lower chance of overheating and a higher energy density. Higher energy density means more range in a lighter package.
While these benefits are all well and good, as it currently stands, it would be egregiously expensive to put solid-state batteries in electric vehicles. Toyota told Reuters that it plans to commercialize solid-state batteries "by the early 2020s," which gives the automaker and suppliers time to refine the technology and make it affordable to produce.
2022 would put Toyota behind a number of other automakers, including Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Tesla, all of which hope to have affordable, long-range EVs on the road by the end of the decade. Chevrolet's already accomplished that with the, and Tesla isn't too far behind, as the has just entered production.