By 2026, Toyota expects to produce 1.5 million electric vehicles annually using its brands and aims to increase this number to 3.5 million units by the end of the decade. Without advances in traction battery technology, the company cannot achieve such results and therefore plans to launch four new types of traction batteries by 2028.
edition ArsTechinca committed to resummarizing the information currently available about Toyota’s plans in this area. Three of the four battery options mentioned will rely on the use of a liquid electrolyte, while the fourth will exclusively combine solid-state components to form battery cells.
First up is a “performance” version of the lithium-ion battery with liquid electrolyte, which is scheduled to hit the market in 2026. Compared to the batteries Toyota currently uses in the bZ4X production electric crossover, the new batteries will be 20% cheaper to produce while offering a range of up to 800 km and fast charging in 20 minutes.
In the segment of low-cost electric vehicles, Toyota will also be forced to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are very popular in China and are now being installed in one of the modifications of the same bZ4X crossover in cooperation with the Chinese supplier CATL. By 2026 or 2027, Toyota expects to reduce LFP battery costs by 40% and increase range by 20%. Due to the chemical composition of such batteries, high-speed charging takes about 30 minutes to restore the remaining charge from 10 to 80%, but even this will be progress given the existing characteristics.
While Toyota is preparing batteries with solid components for 2027 or 2028, it won’t forget batteries with liquid electrolyte either. Its improved version will be launched by 2028, it will have a design with bipolar electrodes, already used in Toyota traction batteries for hybrids. The nickel content in the cathodes is increased, allowing a total range of up to 1000 km on a single charge, and the production costs are reduced by 10% compared to the first type of battery mentioned here material.
Finally, in 2027 or 2028, Toyota expects to launch solid-state batteries that offer fast charging in ten minutes and are lighter in weight, with a power reserve of almost 1000 km. The company abandoned its original plans to use solid-state batteries exclusively in hybrid powertrains. Additionally, Toyota solid-state batteries were previously expected to hit the market by the middle of the decade.
A separate area of Toyota’s innovation efforts will be optimizing the arrangement of battery cells within the battery. The height of the battery pack should not exceed 100 mm compared to the current 150 mm. It would seem that such a modest difference is not worth the effort, but traction batteries placed under the floor of an electric vehicle can either limit ground clearance or force designers to increase the roof height to maintain interior volume in the cabin , and this is already having a negative impact on the aerodynamic properties and efficiency of the electric vehicle.