Toyota To Reportedly Launch Long-Range EV in 2022 With Much Better Battery Than Today’s Teslas

While EV fans have castigated Toyota for largely sitting out EV sales this decade, it may make up for that early next decade with a long-range EV utilizing solid state battery technology.

According to a report from the Chunichi Shimbun daily on Tuesday, the solid state battery is expected in a car with quick-charge capability of a few minutes – faster than 20-30 minutes of today’s DC fast charging – and with equal or greater range than 186-250 miles.

It’s long been rumored, and we have reported several times back to 2013, that Toyota was at work on a solid state battery and other energy storage tech it wanted to overcome the reasons why it chose to bypass greater participation in the initial round of li-ion plug-in cars.

In 2012, the company that made hybrids popular, and gave the world the Prius, saw the lead engineer of that technology speak dismaying words to the ears of those wanting it to evolve to li-ion based EVs and PHEVs.

“The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge,” said “the father of the Prius,” Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada in September 2012 as Toyota canceled development for the FT-EV II city EV.

That statement was enough to generate a fair amount of rancorous virtual ink from EV supporters vowing not to buy Toyota products, or at least severely scolding Toyota, as the Japanese automaker seemed more enamored with fuel cell vehicles.

Mirai FCV.

But the public memory in this Brave New World can be short, and Toyota may be hoping that if it does introduce a viable and desirable EV, people will forgive or at least forget.

SEE ALSO: Is Toyota Rethinking Its Pro-Fuel Cell / Anti-Battery Electric Car Stance?

This of course remains to be seen, but the paper says the solid state battery is such because its electrolyte is solid, not liquid. It’s seen to be safer, but not reported, although possible, is it may be more energy dense.

What that may mean is a lighter, smaller battery that provides as much energy as the large packs in today’s long-range EVs. Presently batteries in cars like the Tesla Model S offer their 200-300 mile ranges with huge in-floor battery assemblies weighing upwards of 1,200 pounds or more. The li-ion battery in a Chevy Bolt EV weighs in the middle 900s.

The report picked up also by Reuters, does not go into this detail, and to be sure it is premature to celebrate, as things could go wrong between now and then.

Reuters reported Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company would not comment on the specific plans of its future products but did say it has the goal of commercializing all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s.

Toyota is aiming for a moving target, and one which is far more energized over EVs than it is. Aside from Tesla, other automakers including BMW which is partnered with Toyota are at work on long-range, quick-charging EVs at reasonable prices.

This means the battery is still in development, and snags have been seen many times before on hyped new battery technolgy.

Notable however is this is not a startup saying these things, it is Toyota, which has a corporate culture of being conservative. That was part of the mentality behind why it would not build its own Nissan Leaf alternative – while letting its rival plow the ground for a first generation of would-be customers.

Toyota said it felt li-ion batteries did not meet its customers highest expectations, and went after solid state, which it thought would better satisfy it and its customers.

The company is not completely averse to li-ion however, and last year the automaker broke news of its plans to build long-range EVs, and established a small in-house unit headed by President Akio Toyoda.

Plans also are by 2019 to introduce a long-range CH-R-derived EV in China en masse based on li-ion, but this is another indicator Toyota is not at all asleep over the realities of cars that plug in.

This said, it is still saying fuel cells are an ultimate long-term goal, and Toyoda has said though they are building EVs, they may be boring compared to the many well-engineered internal combustion cars it has built in its history.

SEE ALSO: Toyota Preparing For ‘The Next 100 Years’ With Fuel Cell Vehicles

“When it comes to electric vehicles, every car, be it the Yaris or whatever, once it is electrified, the acceleration is all the same,” Toyoda said to Automotive News in May. “The reason I am responsible for EVs as well is that I don’t want to make these cars a commodity. Even with the electrification of the vehicles, I want the prefix ‘I love’ to be affixed to those cars.”

“What I meant was, for an OEM manufacturer, you’re choking yourself. It is commoditizing your vehicle,” Toyoda said.

This is what he says, but the company is otherwise heading in a direction, if cautiously.

Its next possible jump will be solid state, but many open questions remain whether the company will actually pull it off as soon as 2022, put a new polish on its EV credibility, and most importantly sell them in volumes to satisfy its board of directors.

Reuters


More Hybrid News...