Toyota Chairman: we are scrambling to developing "game changer" battery

ssun30

Expert
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
2,111
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autoshow-tokyo-toyota-battery/toyota-scrambles-to-ready-game-changer-ev-battery-for-mass-market-idUSKBN1CW27Y

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) is scrambling to solve outstanding issues as it races to commercialize a battery breakthrough during the first half of the 2020s with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

The logo of Toyota Motor Corp. is seen on a company's Corolla car in Caracas, Venezuela October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello
All solid-state battery technology is a next-generation, high-capacity energy storage device that improves on today’s lithium-ion batteries, replacing the liquid or gel-form electrolyte with a solid, conductive material.

Among other benefits, the new technology offers more capacity and better safety.

“There are a few next-generation battery technologies we’re looking at, and the most promising is an all solid-state battery,” Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said in an interview ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, which opened to the public on Friday.

“We’re scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”

Battery life is the biggest of those issues, Uchiyamada said, adding Toyota has developed the know-how to produce all solid-state batteries in such a way as to hit all the technology’s performance potential.

But it hasn’t yet mastered how to mass produce them to last as intended for a mainstream car that some buyers could expect to drive for 200,000 kms (124,274 miles) or more.

Uchiyamada would not say how long an electric-vehicle (EV) battery should last before it needs replacing, but he dismissed a lifespan of three years. “Nobody would buy a car like that, if you had to replace the battery after just three years,” he said.

Toyota, though, appears confident it can complete the commercialization process for the new battery technology.

“We believe our solid-state battery technology can be a game changer, with the potential to dramatically improve driving range,” Executive Vice President Didier Leroy told reporters on Wednesday.

While Toyota is still pushing its alternative hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology, derided by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk, Uchiyamada insisted the Japanese firm is not “anti-EV”, and is spending heavily in EV technologies such as the solid-state battery.

Dubbed the “Father of the Prius,” Uchiyamada, 71, helped set the global auto industry on its path to electrification two decades ago, and believes both electric-battery cars and those with hydrogen fuel-cell technologies will be needed to ultimately replace gasoline cars.

BIGGER CAPACITY, BETTER SAFETY

Toyota believes solid-state battery technology can double the capacity of today’s lithium-ion battery technology, and help EVs travel further on a full charge.

The significance of the battery’s higher capacity, or energy density, is the potential for Toyota to reduce manufacturing costs for an EV’s battery propulsion system. High battery capacity means the technology needs less lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel or aluminum, allowing automakers to reduce the overall size of an EV propulsion system.

“In automotive manufacturing, smaller and lighter generally means cheaper to produce,” another Toyota official said.

Successfully commercializing solid-state battery technology could be key to making electric battery cars as affordable as today’s gasoline cars. Experts say this means the cost of producing a kilowatt hour of electricity needs to fall to around $100 from a little under $200/kWh today.

Global automakers are racing to lower battery manufacturing costs to pad out today’s thin margins on battery cars.

“We see this tipping point around 2025,” says Nissan Motor Co 7210.T Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci.

“By then, for the customer, it will be practically the same cost to buy petrol or EV. If you have the same price for EVs and petrol, why would you buy traditional technology?”

All solid-state battery technology should also be safer - as conventional lithium-ion batteries with liquid or a gel-like electrolyte have been known to leak or can ignite when they short-circuit and overheat. These risks are reduced in solid-state batteries, says Uchiyamada.

And, unlike today’s lithium-ion batteries, solid-state battery cells don’t need to be layered closely together and linked by electric connectors, giving car designers more flexibility to create more space for passengers or storage.

“I’d say that’s fairly revolutionary, and I‘m sure others are looking at solid-state lithium-ion battery technology to break out of the pack and come up with a safer and more potent energy storage technology,” Uchiyamada said.
 

ssun30

Expert
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
2,111
Very interesting remark from the chairman of TMC. And Didier Leroy commented on their EV program in this thread.

The highest management in TMC has spoken clearly: that they will have an EV program that will be practical and profitable. This will shut down any doubts that "Toyota wants to knock down EV talks". They had made a very important point: it is borderline impossible to produce a consistently profitable EV with current technology, and I believe this is true.

Also it's very encouraging to see that they have hit all the technology's performance potential. This pretty much means the base R&D is complete and all that is left is solving the production issues. Well the latter is usually the hardest part, but being an engineer myself, seeing the product on target in performance is always very encouraging.

Uchiyamada-san also "dismissed a lifespan of three years". Of course one can always argue there are Teslas that have been driven for 200k miles or more. But for those unfamiliar with the bigger picture: an overwhelming amount of EVs are sold in China, and these are mostly very cheap LSV/NEV/Urban Commute EVs (basically non-highway-capable) that have at most 3 years of battery life. And it's well known that these cars have zero re-sale value because a used one will most likely have a dead battery. This is how EV became so cheap in China: very few battery manufacturers have the know-how to build true high-power, high-endurance traction batteries. Instead most of the EVs use batteries developed for consumer electronics, not the greatest idea for safety and reliability (think thousands of Samsung Note 7 on wheels). I know this because these manufacturers are my clients. There were some reports claiming that Tesla will not be able to compete against Chinese manufacturers in cost, but the western media just don't know the difference between true EV batteries and "makeshift EV batteries".

I am inclined to believe the "120k mile" target for battery endurance is assuming the users will use fast-charging regularly and not relying on at-home/at-work charging. One doesn't need to nurse a Prius to make it last more than 200k miles, and I believe Toyota wants the same for their first solid-state EV.

Toyota has a reputation of no over-promise and under-deliver. I believe they will show detailed information on their EVs once some of the manufacturing issues have been solved, but they just don't want to make too much noise without having full confidence. Toyota never relies on hype, instead they just deliver and sell (as seen from the Prius Prime).
 
Last edited:

spwolf

Expert
Messages
2,061
Reaction score
2,009
@ssun30 i think you missunderstood 200k km comment - it was with regards to reliability of their current state solid state battery.

Whoever makes a battery that can be charged for 500km-600km in 10-15m will win the race... quite possibly it might end up being several different companies, including a battery supplier.

In that case, EV's become easy choice for many people... as it is right now, without some crazy regulation in europe that allows you building ev charger in your outside parking spot, EVs are simply not possible vehicle for many europeans (and non-americans) that live in apartment buildings.

Not only that but infrastructure that is required to make all these public parking chargers for every single vehicle seems like not only hugely expensive (hundreds of billions) but also simply impossible to build.
 

ssun30

Expert
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
2,111
@ssun30 i think you missunderstood 200k km comment - it was with regards to reliability of their current state solid state battery.
Nowhere in the article did Uchiyamada-san say their current solid state battery can meet the 200k target. It's exactly their problem; they couldn't build them at a large scale while maintaining reliability.
 

spwolf

Expert
Messages
2,061
Reaction score
2,009
Nowhere in the article did Uchiyamada-san say their current solid state battery can meet the 200k target. It's exactly their problem; they couldn't build them at a large scale while maintaining reliability.
no, he said thats not the target.... Toyota targets 400k miles with their cars usually, so expect that.
 

mikeavelli

Connoisseur
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
4,068
Reaction score
7,830
I assume they must be confident since Lexus is now saying they will offer a ton of electric options in the future.
 

spwolf

Expert
Messages
2,061
Reaction score
2,009
I assume they must be confident since Lexus is now saying they will offer a ton of electric options in the future.
Change of strategy could be really a PR or due to the new tech... or both.

In General, if Toyota says that there will have new EVs, they will.

Now that we are talking about it, we already have had info about Toyota looking for EV component suppliers in NA, I guess that new plant is going to build (partially) EVs as well.
 
Top