Toyota said on Tuesday it expects to spend more than US$13.5-billion (R193-billion) by 2030 to develop batteries and its battery supply system — a bid to lead in the key automotive technology over the next decade.
The world’s largest automaker by volume, which pioneered hybrid petrol-electric vehicles with the popular Prius, is now moving rapidly to deliver its first all-electric line-up next year.
Considered a leader in developing batteries for electric vehicles, Toyota said it aims to slash the cost of its batteries by 30% or more by working on the materials used and the way the cells are structured.
“Then, for the vehicle, we aim to improve power consumption, which is an indicator of the amount of electricity used per kilometre, by 30%, starting with the Toyota bZ4X,” chief technology officer Masahiko Maeda told a briefing, referring to an upcoming compact SUV model.
The company is also the frontrunner to mass produce solid-state batteries — a potential game changer for car makers because they are more energy dense, charge faster and are less prone to catching fire. If developed successfully, they could replace liquid lithium-ion batteries.
While it was still struggling with the short service life of these cells, Maeda said there was no change in Toyota’s target to begin manufacturing solid-state batteries by the mid 2020s. “We are still searching for the best materials to use,” he said.
Efforts to mass produce solid-state batteries have stumbled as they are expensive to fabricate and are prone to crack when they expand and contract during use.
Toyota also plans to use solid-state batteries in hybrid electric vehicles such as the Prius, it said. — Reported by Tim Kelly. (c) 2021 Reuters