In a bold move, global Japanese automaker Toyota announced its plan to pour $13.6 billion in investments to develop better batteries in 2030.
Through a press briefing, the company disclosed that it is gunning for a 50% cost reduction in batteries development and a 30% improvement in cell efficiency. In addition, it plans to shore up battery supply to as much as 200 GWh relative to the present 180 GWh.
Toyota’s chief technology officer Masahiko Maeda explained that the company’s move responds to the surge in demand for electric vehicles (EVs). Maeda further explained that this project would occupy the company’s focus for the long term.
What’s the plan?
Toyota is moving with what it calls the integrated vehicle battery development approach. This approach lets you select which battery is most appropriate for the application. For example, in the case of hybrid EVs, development should zero in on instantaneous power output. Simply put, this involves selecting the appropriate battery type. Meanwhile, when dealing with battery EVs and plug-hybrids, the company focuses on endurance or capacity.
This approach has seen Toyota develop nickel-metal hydride batteries and, of late, lithium-ion batteries. Its most recent interaction is a Ni-metal bipolar hydride battery that works with 200% power density compared to the traditional one. It has applied this latest battery to the recently released Aqua. It is also set to feature in Toyota’s evolving portfolio of EVs in the future.
Maeda added, Toyota aims not only to produce more efficient batteries but foremost in its concern is giving customers “peace of mind.” He explains that its move to produce low-cost and high-performing batteries speaks to its dedication to quality, safety, and long service life. To make this happen, a balance has to be struck among all these valued factors.
Additionally, Toyota is set to invest money and effort to better comprehend issues, including localized heat generation under huge load conditions. It also wants to understand how batteries degrade and how it can prevent foreign matter entry during battery manufacturing.
Batteries of the future
With this announcement of a whole new approach to battery development, Toyota appears serious in being the producer of the future’s batteries. The company looks to develop new electrode materials, design better and novel manufacturing processes, and new battery cell structures where packs suit vehicles.
More than that, the company aims to boost all-solid-state and liquid batteries. The former is already at the prototype level and provides a peek at the use of car batteries with high output, shorter charging times, and long cruising range. What has not been resolved as of yet is how to achieve a longer service life.
Toyota projects sales of electrified vehicles to surpass 8 million come 2030.