Daily Management Review

'Game-Changer' EV Battery Being Worked On Feverishly For Mass Market By Toyota


10/28/2017




'Game-Changer' EV Battery Being Worked On Feverishly For Mass Market By Toyota
With the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars, Toyota Motor Corp races to commercialize a battery breakthrough during the first half of the 2020s and is hence scrambling to solve outstanding issues.
 
Replacing the liquid or gel-form electrolyte with a solid, conductive material, a next-generation, high-capacity energy storage device that improves on today’s lithium-ion batteries is all solid-state battery technology.
 
The new technology offers more capacity and better safety, among other benefits.
 
“There are a few next-generation battery technologies we’re looking at, and the most promising is an all solid-state battery,” Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said in an interview ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, which opened to the public on Friday.
 
“We’re scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”
 
Toyota has developed the know-how to produce all solid-state batteries in such a way as to hit all the technology’s performance potential, Uchiyamada said, while mentioning that battery life is the biggest of those issues.
 
But for a mainstream car that some buyers could expect to drive for 200,000 kms (124,274 miles) or more, it hasn’t yet mastered how to mass produce them to last as intended.
 
Uchiyamada dismissed a lifespan of three years but would not say how long an electric-vehicle (EV) battery should last before it needs replacing. “Nobody would buy a car like that, if you had to replace the battery after just three years,” he said.
 
Though, the commercialization process for the new battery technology can be completed, Toyota appears confident.
 
“We believe our solid-state battery technology can be a game changer, with the potential to dramatically improve driving range,” Executive Vice President Didier Leroy told reporters on Wednesday.
 
Uchiyamada insisted the Japanese firm is spending heavily in EV technologies such as the solid-state battery and is not “anti-EV”, even while Toyota is still pushing its alternative hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology, derided by Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk.
 
Uchiyamada, 71, believes both electric-battery cars and those with hydrogen fuel-cell technologies will be needed to ultimately replace gasoline cars and he is dubbed the “Father of the Prius” and has helped set the global auto industry on its path to electrification two decades ago.
 
EVs would be helped to travel further on a full charge and the capacity of today’s lithium-ion battery technology could be doubled by solid-state battery technology, Toyota believes.
 
The potential for Toyota to reduce manufacturing costs for an EV’s battery propulsion system is the significance of the battery’s higher capacity, or energy density. And automakers are allowed to reduce the overall size of an EV propulsion system as high battery capacity means the technology needs less lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel or aluminum.
 
“In automotive manufacturing, smaller and lighter generally means cheaper to produce,” another Toyota official said.
 
Key to making electric battery cars as affordable as today’s gasoline cars could be successfully commercializing solid-state battery technology. From a little under $200/kWh today, the cost of producing a kilowatt hour of electricity needs to fall to around $100, experts say.
 
In order to pad out today’s thin margins on battery cars, global automakers are racing to lower battery manufacturing costs.
 
“We see this tipping point around 2025,” says Nissan Motor Co 7210.T Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci.
 
“By then, for the customer, it will be practically the same cost to buy petrol or EV. If you have the same price for EVs and petrol, why would you buy traditional technology?”
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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