In a livestreamed briefing on batteries and carbon neutrality, Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said that the company will invest ¥1.5 trillion (US$14.3 billion) in the development of a battery supply system and research and development by 2030.
Toyota currently assumes it will go beyond the 180 GWh worth of batteries that it is currently considering and will ready 200 GWh worth of batteries or more if the dissemination of BEVs is faster than expected, Maeda said.
Before outlining Toyota’s plans for developing next-generation liquid and solid-state batteries, Maeda took some time to provide background on Toyota’s battery development approach since the introduction of the Prius in the late 1990s, and to address the claims of critics charging that Toyota is being too slow to embrace full battery-electric vehicles.
To the latter point, Maeda said that according to Toyota’s calculations, the CO2 reduction effect of three HEVs is almost equal to that of one BEV. Because Toyota can provide HEVs at a comparatively affordable price, in places where the use of renewable energy is to become widespread going forward, electrification using HEVs is among the effective ways of reducing CO2 emissions, he said.
More specifically, Toyota’s cumulative sales of HEVs have now reached as many as 18.1 million units.
Earlier, I mentioned that the CO2 emissions reduction effect of three HEVs is equivalent to the reduction effect of one BEV, and the 18.1 million HEVs sold to date are equivalent to the CO2 reduction effect of introducing to the market about 5.5 million BEVs.
The volume of batteries for HEVs that we have produced so far is the same as that of the batteries installed on about 260,000 BEVs.
In other words, we can say that the batteries needed for 260,000 BEVs have been used to achieve the CO2 emissions reduction effect of 5.5 million BEVs.
Toyota has been continuously evolving nickel-metal hydride batteries and lithium-ion batteries for hybrids by taking advantage of their respective characteristics. A new bipolar nickel-metal hydride battery announced this year and focused on providing instantaneous power, will be used in an increasing number of vehicles, Maeda said.
For lithium-ion batteries for PHEVs and BEVs, Toyota is working to improve both cost and endurance. For BEVs, Toyota would like to reduce costs and provide BEVs at a reasonable price. To do so, Toyota:
Aims to reduce the costs of batteries themselves by 30% or more by developing materials and structures.
For the vehicle, Toyota aims to improve power consumption, which is an indicator of the amount of electricity used per kilometer, by 30%, starting with the Toyota bZ4X. Improved power efficiency leads to reduced battery capacity, which will result in a cost reduction of 30%.
Through this integrated development of vehicles and batteries, Toyota aims to reduce the battery cost per vehicle by 50% compared to the Toyota bZ4X in the second half of the 2020s.
For next-generation liquid batteries, Toyota will take on the challenge of material evolution and structural innovation. Toyota also aims to commercialize all-solid-state batteries.
Last June, Toyota equipped a vehicle with all-solid-state batteries, conducted test runs on a test course, and obtained driving data. Based on that data, it continued to make improvements, and in August last year, Toyota obtained license plate registration for vehicles equipped with all-solid-state batteries and conducted test drives.
There are some things that we have learned during the development process.
All-solid-state batteries are expected to have higher output because of the fast movement of ions within them. Therefore, we would like to take advantage of the favorable properties of all-solid-state batteries by also using them in HEVs.
On the other hand, we found that short service life was an issue. To solve this and other issues, we need to continue development, mainly of solid electrolyte materials. We feel that having identified an issue has brought us one step closer to commercialization.