Toyota and oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan announced a collaboration on Oct 12 for the development and production of all-solid-state batteries at scale. This partnership is another example of innovative partnerships emerging despite the disruptive shift to electric vehicles.
Next-generation batteries will be commercialized in 2027-28, followed by full-scale mass production. Toyota stated that the batteries, which would significantly extend the driving range of EVs, would be introduced as part of a June strategic pivot to EVs.
Toyota attempts to make up ground lost in the EV race to Tesla and Chinese rivals such as BYD. It claims to have discovered a "technological breakthrough" that addresses durability issues with solid-state batteries and is working to mass-produce them. Idemitsu Kosan, Japan's second-largest oil refiner, has been developing solid sulphide electrolyte, a substance used in batteries.
"By bringing together the material development technologies of both companies, Idemitsu's material manufacturing technology, and Toyota's battery mass production technology, we will engage in full-scale mass production of all-solid-state batteries," Toyota CEO Koji Sato told a news conference.
Solid-state batteries can store more energy than liquid electrolyte batteries, and manufacturers and analysts anticipate that they will hasten the transition to EVs. According to Toyota, an EV powered by a solid-state battery would have a range of 1,200 km (746 miles) and a charge time of only 10 minutes.
Such batteries are expensive and will most certainly remain so for many years. Idemitsu has been boosting its stake in Australian lithium developer Delta Lithium to 15% earlier this year amid a global push by automakers to electrify their fleets.