Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough that will allow it to bring solid state batteries to market as early as 2027.
It’s one of several advanced battery technologies that will underpin the brand’s new EV focus as it moves away from the hybrid-focused strategy of its former CEO.
Solid state batteries promise greater energy density, higher electric range and faster charging that keep refueling times comparable to those of a gas-powered vehicle. Scientists, researchers and automakers have spent decades trying to crack the code on their commercialization, but so far no EV has included Toyota’s own offerings: the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ.
The Lexus RZ at the New York Auto Show (Credit: Emily Drebelbis)
But Toyota says it has found a new material that solves one of the main issues with solid-state batteries: their longevity.
“We found quality content,” chief technology officer Hiroki Nakajima said at a press event in Japan this week, as reported by Nikkei Asia (opens in a new window). “We will keep up with the rest of the world and will definitely put it to practical use.”
The next challenge will be mass production. Toyota says its breakthrough batteries will hit the market in 2027 or 2028, giving its EVs a range of 745 miles — much more than any gas-powered car today — with a charging time of 10 minutes.
Ultimately, Toyota’s plans include vehicles with 932-mile ranges and charging times of less than 10 minutes. In comparison, the best-selling EV today, the Tesla Model Y, has a maximum 330-mile range and 15 minutes of charging via a Tesla Supercharger.
Toyota bZ4X (Credit: Toyota)
Toyota is one of several automakers trying to commercialize solid state batteries. In November 2022, Honda announced a new polymer fabric that would address the longevity issue. It plans to release an EV with a solid-state battery by the end of the decade. However, unlike Toyota, Honda didn’t mention a range or charging time that its new battery can achieve.
Since solid state batteries are still years away, Toyota revealed short-term plans for better batteries. It will offer a range of options including a high-performance pack. Its main, mass-market battery will be a new, low-cost “bipolar” lithium iron phosphate (LFP), Carscoops reports (opens in a new window).
recommended by our editors
With these batteries, the company says it can achieve a 40% reduction in cost and a 20% increase in range with sub-30-minute charging. The bZ4X currently starts at $42,000 with 252-mile range. The Lexus RZ starts at $59,600 with a range of just over 220 miles. By our calculations, a 20% improvement would put the bZ4X at the high end of today’s market at just a little over 300 miles, and propel the Lexus RZ to where most of the market is at 260-mile range.
Charge port on the Lexus RZ. (Credit: Emily Dribelbis)
Toyota did not give any details about which vehicles will have this technology and what their range will be. But we’re most likely to see it in the next-generation Lexus EV, as a major company re-organization in March revolves around making Lexus its flagship electric vehicle brand. Now, the former Lexus International president is CEO and president of all Toyotas from April 1.
Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota, so its first EV with this new and improved battery technology is unlikely to come in the low-cost, mass-market package many consumers expect from Toyota, but that remains to be seen.
Get our best stories!
sign up for what’s new now Get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.