AutosNew batteries are unlikely to become commonplace. The revolution of electric cars will not happen overnight

New batteries are unlikely to become commonplace. The revolution of electric cars will not happen overnight

Today, batteries take up a lot of space and weigh a lot.
Today, batteries take up a lot of space and weigh a lot.
Images source: © Press materials

3:06 PM EST, November 23, 2023

Even though novel solid electrolyte traction batteries are expected to debut in the next few years, reducing charging times and extending vehicle range, they are unlikely to institute an immediate radical change in the electric car landscape due to limited initial availability.

Electric vehicles, while offering an exceptional riding experience with their quiet operation and linear acceleration, also present significant challenges in terms of limited range and increased weight. Traction batteries with a solid electrolyte are projected to help alleviate these issues. Theoretically, these batteries should provide substantially improved energy storage density—this would mean a significant increase in range without recharging, or maintaining the current range with much smaller and lighter batteries.

However, the hiccup is in the fact that solid electrolyte batteries are not commercially available yet. One of the front runners working to develop this technology is Toyota. Automotive News Europe has reported that the Japanese automaker has disclosed some details about its future production plans. They expect the technology to become commercially viable between 2027 and 2028, and anticipate the mass production of these batteries to begin in 2030. But what does this mean for the electric vehicle market?

The market is unlikely to see a significant influx of cars outfitted with this new type of battery anytime soon. As reported by the Toyota Times via ANE, the mass production of these batteries, even at a relatively small scale (a few hundred tons per year), will not start until possibly 2027. By 2030, this volume could increase to several thousand tons- enough to supply just over 10,000 vehicles. Given Toyota's goal of selling 3.5 million zero-emission cars globally by 2030, these new batteries will initially account for a relatively small percentage of their total production.

Toyota's plans suggest they intend to produce two versions of solid electrolyte batteries. The first version should allow a passenger car to reach an impressive range of around 620 miles. Charging from 10 to 80 percent capacity could occur in 10 minutes — assuming the use of optimally-rated charging stations. The second version of the new batteries is expected to provide a range of roughly 745 miles for passenger cars.

Although these parameters look very promising, they still need to be realized in practice. Toyota is not alone in the race towards this milestone. Honda and Nissan are also developing their own solid electrolyte traction battery technology. Honda is already initiating pilot battery production, and Nissan hopes to follow suit in 2024 and commercialize in 2028. Only time will tell how effectively these promising plans translate to reality.

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