Toyota has always been opposing battery-electric automobiles on grounds that the technology is suitable for only short trips. Hydrogen Fuel cells are being promoted by Toyota as the best option in zero emission vehicle technology. As a result of unrelenting pressure by China, Toyota has agreed to build all electric cars within 2020. Now, the company may be developing ambitious plans towards electrifying its cars.
A Japanese newspaper, ChunichiShimbun, Toyota is in the process of developing solid state batteries to be used in its future electric cars. The first vehicles to sport this technology will be sold only by early 2022. Coincidentally, this is the around the same time when a fifth generation Prius would be released. This offers Toyota ample opportunities for developing an electric car along with its iconic hybrid.
Battery companies are investing large portions of their funds in lithium ion cells and future research in next generation technology. If the reported news turns out to be true, this might be the first instance of a large global car manufacturer to completely turn towards solid state batteries.
The solid state batteries being developed offer greater range with a recharge time of a few minutes. Since solid state batteries are expensive to manufacture on a large scale, this stance adopted by Toyota could make it a pioneer again in the automotive domain. The company has faced mixed luck in battery development. But if it pulls this through, it could leave its previous failures in its rear-view mirror as it races to the future.