Toyota to Invest $13.5 Billion in Electric Vehicle Battery Development by 2030
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp is making a massive investment in electric vehicle battery technologies. The automaker announced on Tuesday that it is investing up to $13.5 billion to develop advanced battery technologies for its future lineup of electrified vehicles.
Toyota aims to sell roughly 8 million electrified vehicles a year by 2030. This figure includes, purely-electric, plug-in hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. Of this amount, Toyoya is aiming for 2 million of them to be fully-electric vehicles.
Toyota's massive investment in battery technology will make the company an industry leader. Innovations will also help drive down the costs of EV batteries, which currently cost around $100 per kWh to manufacture. Toyota aims to slash the cost of its batteries by 30% or more by developing new battery materials and cell structures, including the use of solid state battery technology.
"We aim to improve power consumption, which is an indicator of the amount of electricity used per kilometer, by 30%, starting with the Toyota bZ4X," said Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda in a press briefing.
Toyota's bZ4X is a fully-electric compact SUV and represents the automaker's pivot to battery-powered vehicles. It will launch in 2022.
Toyota's ongoing development of batteries is also designed to reduce the battery costs per vehicle by 50% in the second half of the 2020s. The company said it has continuously improved nickel-metal hydride batteries and lithium-ion batteries by taking advantage of their respective characteristics.
In addition, Toyota's bipolar nickel-metal hydride battery, which was announced earlier this year, will be used in an increasing number of electrified vehicles.
Investments in Solid State EV Batteries
Solid-state EV batteries, which have no liquid electrolyte, could be a gamer changer for the auto industry and Toyota plans to increase its investments in the technology. These batteries offer significant improvements over conventional lithium ion batteries in use today, including a risk of overheating or fire. They also can offer longer range and faster charging in 15 minutes or less.
General Motors' recent recall of the Chevy Bolt EV along with South Korean automaker Kia's recall of the electric Niro crossover were both due to battery fires, and show that the current lithium ion technology needs improvement. But solid state battery technology also needs improvement to be viable.
Currently, solid-state batteries are more expensive to manufacture and are prone to crack when they expand and contract during routine use, according to Toyota. To solve these challenges, the automaker's Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said the company will continue to develop new solid electrolyte materials.
Toyota aims to start manufacturing solid-state batteries by the mid 2020s.
In addition to its goal of commercialized solid state EV batteries, Toyota will continue to improve lithium ion battery technology with the goal to improve service life, increase energy density, reduce the size of the batteries and lower production costs.
To support the production of millions of EVs, Toyota plans to set up a supply network and production systems based on what it calls "small basic units." The company is targeting a production capacity of up to 200 GWhs by 2030.
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