Toyota will unveil an electric car powered by a solid-state battery as part of its technology showcase for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but don't expect cars with a solid-state batteries in the automaker's dealerships until the middle of the next decade.
The information was revealed by Toyota R&D chief Shigeki Terashi in an interview with Autocar published on Tuesday.
"We will produce a car with solid-state batteries and unveil it to you in 2020, but mass production with solid-state batteries will be a little later," he said.
Audi was the first automaker to present a car with a solid-state battery, in this case the PB18 E-tron concept unveiled during 2018's Monterey Car Week. And Audi's Volkswagen Group parent has also said it plans to offer cars with solid-state batteries around the middle of the next decade, which is about when the automaker's recently launched EVs like the Audi E-tron, Porsche Taycan and Volkswagen ID 3 will be due for renewal.
Audi PB18 e-tron concept
As the name suggests, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte instead of the liquids or gels that most EV batteries use today. The result is that they are less prone to overheating or fire; are much denser, meaning less weight and higher capacity; and they're also better for fast charging.
As a gauge, a solid-state battery similar in size to a current lithium-ion battery could deliver a range comparable to that of a conventional gasoline-powered car. We're talking close to 500 miles on a single charge. The holdup is that they’re still very expensive to manufacture on a mass scale.
Toyota is working with Panasonic to develop its solid-state batteries. In January, the two announced the establishment of a joint-venture company to manufacture batteries, including solid-state designs. Toyota is also part of a Japanese consortium researching the technology. Other partners include Honda and Nissan.
After initially committing to fuel cell-electric cars, Toyota is now racing to catch up with rivals in launching battery-electric cars. The automaker in June said it plans to launch at least 10 battery-electric cars by 2025 and previewed the design of six of them.