Automotive manufacturers and battery researchers worldwide have been pushing hard to create batteries that will enable longer driving ranges and shorter charging times. Reducing the charge time and increasing the driving range for EVs is exactly what the average buyer is looking for before transitioning to an electric vehicle. Toyota has announced that in 2021 it will roll out a new prototype electric vehicle using a solid-state battery.
Solid-state batteries could usher in an era of electric vehicles able to drive 500 kilometers per charge and then completely recharge in 10 minutes. Solid-state batteries have fewer safety issues than current batteries, which are known to catch fire if damaged. While the vehicle unveiled next year will be a prototype, Toyota does intend to sell a vehicle with a solid-state battery in the early 2020s.
Toyota promises that the vehicles will have a range of more than twice the distance of vehicles running conventional lithium-ion batteries under the same conditions. The new solid-state batteries will also take up no more space than existing batteries. If Toyota can deliver its promise of a 10-minute recharge, that would reduce charge times by approximately two-thirds compared to current electric vehicles.
Toyota owns over 1000 patents involving solid-state batteries, but it’s not the only automaker investigating the technology. Nissan has previously said that it is developing its own solid-state battery and plans to have it in a drivable vehicle by 2028. Battery manufacturers are also gearing up to provide solid electrolytes for the batteries has more automakers intend to move in that direction.
Interestingly, an oil company known as Idemitsu Kosan is building a solid electrolyte production system at one of its current production sites with the intention of starting operations next year. Solid electrolytes require solidifying sulfides, something the metal and chemical industry already produces.