Toyota Motor and Idemitsu Kosan announced a partnership to mass-produce all-solid-state batteries. As electric cars gain more and more traction, battery tech becomes a key development focus. Solid-state batteries are supposed to be the “next big thing” in the EV universe, with range, charging speed, and eventually cost benefits over their liquid electrolyte counterparts. But can these two giants deliver on the promise?
Toyota was late to the all-EV bandwagon. Still, when the world’s largest automaker by sales volume announced earlier this year about a “technological breakthrough” in solid-state batteries, the industry took notice. It wasn’t just about a new battery; it was about addressing the long-standing durability issues plaguing solid-state technology.
Idemitsu Kosan, Japan’s second-largest oil refiner, already has a stake in Australian lithium developer Delta Lithium so it’s not a total newbie to the EV game. The oil behemoth has been diving deep into EV battery supply chains, aligning perfectly with Toyota’s vision for the future.
According to the recent joint statement, the duo aims to commercialize these next-generation batteries by 2027-28, followed swiftly by full-scale mass production. If things go as planned, EV enthusiasts might be looking at vehicles powered by solid-state batteries offering a whopping range of 1,200 km and a charging time of just 10 minutes. It almost sounds too good to be true considering the tech we currently have. The high costs associated with these batteries cannot be brushed under the carpet. While their benefits are glaringly obvious, the hefty price tag remains a considerable hurdle.
The collaboration centers around sulfide solid electrolytes. Recognized for their potential to achieve high capacity and output for EVs, these electrolytes are characterized by their softness and adhesiveness, making them ideal candidates for mass battery production. The initial phase will focus on developing these sulfide solid electrolytes, setting the stage for a large pilot facility. Subsequent phases will delve into mass production using this facility, with Toyota integrating these batteries into their EVs. The final phase? A thorough exploration of full-scale mass production and commercialization.