Toyota Bets Big on Battery Development
Toyota Motor Corp has announced that they expect to spend at least USD13.5 billion between now and 2030 to develop their own batteries and a supply chain to deliver them, so that they will be a global leader in EV technology before the start of the next decade. Toyota, currently the world’s largest automaker by volume and is one of the pioneers of hybrids with their Prius range of vehicles, is trying to deliver its first fully all-electric line-up by next year.
Previously, Toyota had been slow to enter the all-EV market possibly due to the problem of charging a vehicle in their home market, where access to your household charging point is almost impossible. Instead, they had preferred hydrogen power and, of course, petrol/electric hybrids. They are, though, considered one of the leaders in car battery technology.
The company says that they plan to reduce the cost of their battery by at least 30%, by revising the materials used and the structure of the cells. They may have a problem with the ever spiralling cost of lithium and cobalt, but we wouldn’t bet against Toyota’s bold claims for now. The Toyota bZ4X will be the first car to benefit from the initiative, in which they plan to be able to reduce the power used per kilometre by 30% as well.
The industry rumour mill believes that Toyota is the industry frontrunner to mass-produce solid-state batteries, which are seen as the holy grail for the future of the EV industry. These are cheaper to produce, charge faster, less prone to spontaneously combusting and, as importantly, hold much more electricity. The world is waiting for these as the next replacement for Li-ion batteries. Unfortunately, thus far, these batteries have a very short service life and are insanely expensive to manufacture at present and prone to cracking.
Of course, Volkswagen, which is currently considered the second largest car manufacturer, is also in the race. However, they have also announced that to deliver on their promise of an all-electric autonomous future, they may have to more to deliver the transformation. Currently, the German company has allotted some USD180 billion before 2025, but now think that this may not be enough.