Toyota’s Solid-State Battery: Game Changer or Utter Disappointment?
Maybe Mazda didn’t get the shaft in that partnership dealby Robert Moore, on
Toyota has said that it’s solid-state battery will be a “game changer” at the Tokyo Motor Show but at the same show, Chairman and Engineer, Takeshi Uchiyamada told Reuters that there are still some issues with the batteries:
“We are scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”
Apparently, there’s an issue with the life-span of the battery, which uses a solid material instead of a liquid electrolyte – something that is said to improve performance and safety since it isn’t flammable either. Uchiyamada didn’t specify what kind of life Toyota was getting from the batteries that it had tried to mass produce, but it was mentioned that people wouldn’t buy an electric car if the battery pack only last three years. If that’s the kind of lifespan these batteries currently have, that’s certainly far from the “game-changing” technology I told you about when I brought you news about Mazda getting the shaft in the Toyota-Mazda-Denso EV partnership.
And, in case you’re questioning Uchiyamada’s credibility, he was behind the design of the first Prius, so he happens to know a few things about batteries and what makes them tick. Despite this seemingly huge setback that Toyota is experiencing in producing these batteries, the brand still believes the batteries will be the bee’s knees when they are perfected. It’s an unproven technology, but they can supposedly provide greater energy density, which would allow a SSB the same size as a traditional lithium-ion battery to hold more electricity, ultimately leading to smaller, lighter batteries. Or, depending on the situation, larger batteries with much longer range.
So, what can we expect? Did Mazda luck out not being involved with the solid-state batteries? Keep reading to learn more.
It’s All About Lifespan
The truth is, while it may appear that Mazda got the shaft over the new batteries if Toyota doesn’t figure out how to make them last longer – somewhere upward of at least 7 years minimum – then there’s no way those batteries can be used in the first place. With that said, I have to say I’m a little surprised at how excited some Toyota executives are when talking about the technology while others admit there’s a real problem. You can’t exactly call something “game-changing” when it can’t live up to the demands placed on current batteries. That’s just not how it works.
In the end, Toyota will probably end up perfecting the solid-state battery. But, at the same time, so will someone else. It will be a nice advancement for the automotive industry, but we’ll probably see it around 2025, and it will likely be available from more than just Toyota. Whether or not Mazda will get its hands on the technology remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t rule out a long-range Mazda EV quite yet. We’ll just have to wait to find out. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Prius.
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