Japanese firm believes it could make a solid-state battery with a range of 745 miles that charges in 10 minutes
Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough that will allow it to halve the weight, size and cost of batteries, in what could herald a major advance for electric vehicles.
The world’s second largest carmaker was already pursuing a plan to roll out cars with advanced solid-state batteries, which offer benefits compared with liquid-based batteries, by 2025.
solid state battery
Solid-state batteries are a new type of battery technology. Compared with traditional liquid batteries, solid-state batteries have higher energy density, longer life, higher safety, and faster charging and discharging speeds. It is a battery with a solid electrolyte, which is made of solid materials and does not require electrolytes in the form of liquids or gels.
The working principle of solid-state batteries is based on the conduction of ions. When charging, the positive electrode material releases electrons, the negative electrode material absorbs electrons, and at the same time, positive ions are transported from the positive electrode to the negative electrode through the solid electrolyte. On discharge, this process reverses, with positive ions transported from the negative electrode through the solid electrolyte to the positive electrode, releasing electrons at the same time. The high ionic conductivity and stability of solid-state electrolytes enable solid-state batteries to perform charge-discharge reactions efficiently.
Solid-state batteries have many advantages. First, they have a higher energy density, which means they can store more energy, providing longer battery life for the same size and weight. Second, solid-state batteries have a longer service life because the solid-state electrolyte corrodes the electrodes less, thus extending the cycle life of the battery. In addition, due to the use of solid materials as electrolytes, solid-state batteries are safer than liquid batteries, and are less prone to accidents such as leakage, overheating, and explosions. Finally, solid-state batteries have faster charging and discharging speeds, which can charge and discharge electric energy faster, improving the efficiency of battery use.
However, solid-state batteries also face some challenges and difficulties. First, the relatively low ionic conductivity of solid-state electrolytes limits the power output of batteries. Secondly, the manufacturing cost of solid-state batteries is relatively high, and the technology for preparing solid-state electrolyte materials is not mature enough, which requires further research and development. In addition, the stability and cycle life of solid-state batteries still need to be improved to meet the requirements of practical applications.
Despite some challenges, solid-state batteries are still considered an important development direction for next-generation battery technologies. Many research institutions and companies are actively conducting research and development of solid-state batteries to improve their performance and commercial applications. Solid-state batteries are expected to make important breakthroughs in fields such as electric vehicles, portable electronic devices and renewable energy storage, providing us with more efficient, safer and more reliable energy solutions.
On Tuesday, the Japanese company said it had simplified production of the material used to make them, hailing the discovery as a significant leap forward that could dramatically cut charging times and increase driving range.
“For both our liquid and our solid-state batteries, we are aiming to drastically change the situation where current batteries are too big, heavy and expensive,” said Keiji Kaita, president of the Japanese auto firm’s research and development centre for carbon neutrality. “In terms of potential, we will aim to halve all of these factors.”
David Bailey, a professor of business economics at the University of Birmingham, said that if Toyota’s claims were founded, it could be a landmark moment for the future of electric cars.
“Often there are breakthroughs at the prototype stage but then scaling it up is difficult,” he said. “If it is a genuine breakthrough it could be a gamechanger, very much the holy grail of battery vehicles.”
Kaita said the company had developed ways to make batteries more durable and believed it could now make a solid-state battery with a range of 1,200km (745 miles) that could charge in 10 minutes or less.
The company expects to be able to manufacture solid-state batteries for use in electric vehicles as soon as 2027, according to the Financial Times, which first reported on Toyota’s claimed breakthrough.
Solid-state batteries have been widely seen as a potential gamechanger for electric vehicles, promising to reduce charging times, increase capacity and reduce the fire risk associated with lithium-ion batteries, which use a liquid electrolyte.
However, solid-state batteries have typically been harder and costlier to make, limiting their commercial application.
Toyota said it believed it could simplify the production process, potentially making solid-state batteries easier to produce than lithium-ion ones.