Toyota Motor still loves its hydrogen fuel-cell technology but isn’t abandoning battery-electric cars: A new model with a long-range, quick-charging solid-state battery is being worked on.
The automaker remains mum on the project except to say that it plans to commercialize the solid-state battery it has been developing and is aiming at the early 2020s. Commercializing, of course, could mean introducing it for use in consumer electronics or power tools.
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But the Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun is reporting – without identifying sources – that Toyota is working on a battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, that will use the solid-state battery. It would deliver somewhere between 185 and 250 miles of range, recharge in just a few minutes and be ready for market in 2022.
Solid-state batteries are lighter, more energy dense and can be charged more rapidly than the lithium-ion batteries used today for most plug-in vehicles. Solid-state batteries also have longer useful lives than lithium-ion batteries, which use a liquid electrolyte that makes them subject to overheating, quicker degradation and poor performance in extremely cold climates.
Toyota’s new love of BEVs is rooted in China’s policies, which promote use of battery-electric vehicles to help clean the country’s foul air. China is a major market for all automakers and plans next year to begin imposing BEV quotas, and penalties for not meeting them.
Toyota isn’t the only automaker working on solid-state batteries, but if it does launch a new solid-stat model in 2022 it likely would be first to market with one.