Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker by sales, has announced its plans to commercialize its solid-state battery technology by 2027. The Japanese automaker claims that its solid-state EV battery technology has a range of 745 miles and can be charged in just 10 minutes. This breakthrough could significantly reduce the carbon emissions of electric vehicle (EV) batteries by 39%, although it does require 35% more lithium. Toyota’s aim is to become a world leader in battery EV energy consumption and this new battery technology could help them achieve that goal.
The development of solid-state batteries is seen as a major breakthrough in the EV industry as it addresses some of the major concerns with current battery technology, such as charging time, driving range, capacity, and safety risks. Solid-state batteries replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid material and use lithium metal instead of graphite at the anode. They offer high energy density, meaning they can store more energy with less materials, and typically require no toxic materials. Research shows that solid-state batteries made from sustainably sourced materials can reduce carbon emissions by 39%. This emission reduction is likely due to simplified production processes and faster charging times.
However, solid-state batteries do require more lithium than current lithium-ion technology, although they use less cobalt and graphite. This increase in demand for lithium could have a significant impact on the clean energy transition and the EV revolution. Countries and major EV makers are already scrambling to secure lithium supplies, and if solid-state batteries dominate the industry, demand for this critical mineral will soar. The European Union has proposed a Batteries Regulation for lithium that requires responsible sourcing and recycling, while the United States has incentivized EV manufacturers to source their batteries locally or from free-trade partners. However, both regions will need to ramp up their domestic lithium supply to meet the growing demand.
Toyota’s solid-state battery revelation has been met with excitement and analysts believe it could be a game-changer for the industry. The company has been working on this technology since 2012 and now holds over 1,000 solid-state battery patents, more than any other carmaker. The President of Toyota’s R&D center for carbon neutrality, Keiji Kaita, stated that they have also discovered ways to address the durability problems with EV batteries and are confident in mass-producing solid-state batteries by 2027 or 2028.
While Toyota’s solid-state battery technology shows great promise, key details such as battery performance in cold temperatures, energy density, and raw materials have not been disclosed. The automaker aims to manufacture 3 million battery-electric units each year by 2030, with 50% of them using solid-state batteries. Whether Toyota’s battery breakthrough will make them a leader in the EV revolution remains to be seen, but it is certainly a development that the industry will be watching closely.