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Toyota to release its solid-state battery EV prototype in 2021


Toyota announced Monday it is working on the final details of its new solid-state battery electric vehicle (EV) prototype. The Company expects to release its running prototype next year.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Company was expected to show its solid-state battery’s working prototype at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. According to experts in the automotive industry, the predicted model will probably tackle several range and charge barriers to EV adoption.

New Toyota solid-state battery EV prototype

The new Toyota solid-state battery EV prototype is expected to provide more than 300 miles of range and be charged in approximately ten minutes, maintaining 80% of its charge capacity for 800 cycles (240 thousand miles).  

In this regard, the Company also announced the prototype would not require bulky heating and cooling systems, nor is it prone to spontaneous combustion.

A solid-state battery is a technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte with several differences from lithium-ion or lithium-ion polymer batteries. Those batteries are meant to offer more range to EV cars.

In simpler words, “solid-state batteries charge quicker, last longer, and have a greater energy density.” A vehicle outfitted with one of these batteries has a broader range compared to a lithium-ion battery car.

Toyota is not the only company in the automotive industry working on developing these solid-state battery prototypes. According to a Motor Trend report, such models represent “a holy grail that automakers and manufacturers are racing to find.”

Last week, California-based QuantumScape, announced promising test results for its solid-state cell in partnership with Volkswagen. A joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic is also currently working on developing several patents for solid-state batteries. Nissan is expanding its own-state battery; the Company has claimed it will appear in a non-simulation vehicle by 2028.

Potentialities and challenges

Therefore, the reasons for this trend are many. For instance, range and charge times would be decreased (10 minutes) with respect to other EV models.

A compact fast-charging battery could be the electric starter’s EV equivalent, allowing battery-powered electric cars to address internal-combustion power.

However, there are still some challenges to address. Speaking with Automotive News, Keiji Kaita, executive vice president of Toyota’s powertrain company, said the company already has a working prototype.

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Nevertheless, Toyota has yet to harness the true potential of a solid-state battery. One major issue with solid-state batteries is their short life span. According to experience, these batteries tend to fail after repeated charging.

In partnership with Panasonic, the Company needs to figure out how to create an electrolyte that won’t become deformed by merely charging and discharging the battery.

Toyota is focusing on a sulfur-based electrolyte that is expected to allow for a more efficient “ion” transfer between the electrodes.

Samsung is working on the same issue, but instead of replacing the electrolyte, it’s replacing the lithium anodes with a silver-carbon composite to reduce the electrolyte’s destruction while the battery is being charged.

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