Toyota’s entry into the worldwide electric vehicles sweepstakes has so far been more like a toe dipped into the pool instead of a dive from the high board. But it has now outlined a full-speed-ahead plan focused on developing battery tech that can lead to a range of 500 miles by 2026 in its next generation of EVs.
And according to its blue-sky battery “roadmap,” the Japanese giant sees coming in 2027-28 its first solid-state battery, which would offer 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles) of range and take an 80% charge in 10 minutes.
Eventually, Toyota predicts, advanced cell technologies could extend an EV’s driving range to more than 746 miles (1,200 km), and, further down the line, to as much as 932 miles (1,500 km).
In the near-term works, the company reports, are two batteries, a lithium ion so-called Performance cell and a lithium-iron-phosphate “Popularisation,” a lower-cost battery for entry-level EVs. Between 2027 and 2028, a lithium ion High Performance pack offering 621 miles of range will replace the Performance battery in the lineup. It will also be 10% cheaper, Toyota said, and will take 20 minutes to charge.
The Japanese company has already released its first electric crossover, the bZ4X, as a 2023 model. That front-wheel-drive SUV comes with a 150-kilowatt motor that produces 201 horsepower out of a 71.4-kilowatt-hour battery that returns an estimated 252 miles of range. Assessing the big picture, Toyota has said optimistically that it plans to globally market 3.5 million EVs, with a wide variety of models and power (and battery) specifications, by 2030.
Toyota is also developing methods to reduce the thickness of its battery packs, to improve interior comfort for passengers and shrink overall vehicle heights to improve aerodynamics. The battery in the bZ4X measures 150 mm (5.9-inches) including its casing, but that will drop to 120 mm (4.7-inches) for regular vehicles, and 100 mm (3.9-inches) in sports cars.
“We will need various options for batteries, just as we have different types of engines,” said Takero Kato, president of Toyota’s EV development center. “It’s important to offer battery solutions compatible with a variety of models and customer needs.”