Toyota Lays Out Targets For Development Of Next Generation Electric Car Batteries

OCT 24 2015 BY MARK KANE 40

2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

Toyota laid down targets for next-generation batteries and power semiconductors.

In the case of batteries, the Japanese carmaker would like to see a lot more energy dense cells – 600-800 Wh/l and 2-4 kW/l. That would be a few times more energy in the same size than current technology according to the graph, although power output will not be as important.

Another step could be metal-air batteries at over 1,000 Wh/l.

10% efficiency gains and significant volume reduction is expected from silicon power semiconductors.

“Improving electrified powertrains

  • Developing next-generation models based on hybrid technologies, which encompass all of the component technologies necessary for the development of environment-friendly cars and which facilitate the use of different fuel combinations.
  • Pushing for further advances related to electrified powertrains in order to develop next-generation models; promoting development of next-generation batteries, such as solid-state batteries that have higher energy density, easier increase in voltage and excellent high-temperature durability, in order to improve the range of EVs and the electric range of PHVs
  • Promoting the downsizing and improvement of power control units in hybrids and PHVs, etc.; focusing development resources on the commercial application of silicon carbide power semiconductors (jointly developed with Denso Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.) that can improve the fuel efficiency of hybrids by 10 percent.”
Toyota: Development of next generation power semiconductor

Toyota: Development of next generation power semiconductor

Categories: Battery Tech, Toyota


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40 Comments on "Toyota Lays Out Targets For Development Of Next Generation Electric Car Batteries"

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About time, they have been very tardy and dragging their feet on new battery technology.

If Toyota don’t get with the program now, China will wipe the floor with them for EV with the recent news – at least in China anyway. 🙂

Where is the New Toyota Prius PLUG-IN???

This smells of Toyota again delaying making EV’s by saying they need better batteries.
Too bad someone won’t make primary metal air batteries which are viable now as 50lb swappable 1,000mile range RE’s.
And EV with a 50-100 mile lithium pack doing most driving with a alum/zinc air for long distance and refuel in just 2
All that is needed is brackets to hold them and battery connection on the EV and a reforming plant to reform them.
As so light and no cost to sell can be sold at any gas station or even store.
The cool thing is they can be used to power homes, etc too and fairly cheap.
Hopefully Phinergy or others will start making them and EV companies make space for them.

I don’t get why Toyota is developing this in seeming isolation. They plaster the fuel cell Mirai all over the place despite the list of concerns with the technology and they develop battery technology in relative secrecy and act like they don’t really want anything to do with it. Why wouldn’t they want to push both.

Hybrids and even Fool Cell cars need batteries!

Toyota has to be the most confusing automobile company out there. I wonder if there are some competing factions within the company.

It was strange to me that they produced the Plug-in Prius at all since they only ever appeared to be negative about plug-in cars, then of course they produce a weak effort.

They didn’t seem to make much effort to promote the PiP, at least compared to the Mirai which is not an actual realistic option for a vast majority of potential Toyota customers.

Toyota wouldn’t have built the plug in as they said it wasn’t viable until some EV people designed and had EPA certified plug in kit for the Prius.
This shamed them so bad they had to make a plugin version as they no longer had any excuse.

Some say Toyota has a deal with the Japanese Government and the devil, that would be Big Oil.

But, that would be a conspiracy theory and everyone knows those don’t exist.

I don’t think they have a deal with Big Oil since Toyota introduced the Hybrids and sold 8 million of them which is instrumental in bringing down the price of Oil.

Hybrids are a mean to delay BEVs. Toyota had the RAV4-EV back in 1997, with 90 (EPA 2015) miles range. most companies had a good BEV at the beginning of the century. They killed them off and provided us with hybrids instead of developing further the BEVs.

Two words: rent seeking

Not all “conspiracies” are secret. If the bounty is put out in plain sight, can you blame pirates for being pirates? We can certainly blame them for flying false colors though, slandering legitimate sailors in multiple media, and trying to convince the public that pirates are actually next generation super-sailors.

While Musk mocks “fool cells” (and perhaps even correctly– I’m uncertain about them), Toyota has quietly been using a chunk of its $9 billion annual R&D budget to develop solid-state batteries that will turn the Gigafactory into an obsolete white elephant just a year or two after it’s operating at full scale.

But it seems like magical battery tech is always “just a few years away”. You can’t sit around and wait. You need to implement the technology we have and continuously improve.


Mass produced BEVs with solid state batteries by 2022 is pure fantasy. Maybe mass produced vacuum cleaners.

No automaker will be better prepared to produce next generation batteries in mass quantities than Tesla.

Virtually all of Toyota’s $9B and VW’s $13B is being spent to refine ICE and associated technology that is already a tuning into a large pale mammal.

“Virtually all of Toyota’s $9B and VW’s $13B is being spent to refine ICE and associated technology that is already a tuning into a large pale mammal.” This is just not true. Even before the diesel scandal (or perhaps because it knew it was coming) VW Group committed to bringing to market over 20 plug-in cars within the next four years, some of which are hybrids but many of which will be pure 200-300 mile EVs (at the very least a Golf, Jetta, ’60s style Microbus, and– revealed at Frankfurt– Audi Q6 and Porsche and, post-scandal, a high-end Phaeton). I thus have no doubt that VW is spending over a billion dollars a year on this effort. (For comparison, Tesla’s 2014 R&D budget was $465 million, and that has to cover far more than just the EV aspect of its cars– i.e., brakes, suspensions, interiors, VAC, etc.,) We don’t know what Toyota has been spending because it’s been sort of quiet about it– I certainly get the impression (based on that presentation) that it wants to skip this generation of batteries and go right to solid-state ones. (As a “Japanese aside,” Honda is expected to preview a 2017 200-mile EV… Read more »

I don’t care what company it is or how good their rep is, projecting a five-year development plan for any tech means nothing more than they hope to be able to commercialize a technology. If their development of the tech was far enough along to be sure it will be commercially viable, then it would be a lot less than five years away from being marketed.

The way we have known, for at least two years now, that LG Chem actually does have a breakthru in battery tech (or at least, a way to build the cells more cheaply) is because they started making contracts for delivery in quantity two years in advance of actual mass production.

If and when Bosch starts doing that, we’ll know they really have something. Until then, it’s just hope and hype.

VW’s showrooms are filled with elephants, and here come the compliance PHEVs.

If Bosch wrote high volumes of an “off-road” cheat code, for VW, what are the odds they wouldn’t dangle “cheat code”, in the form of batteries they claim to have up their sleeve?

You aren’t betting on technology, Mark. You’re betting on when the horses ass moves. Lower Saxony doesn’t want its population out of a job, making pistons.

It will take years to turn a lab battery into a manufacturable battery, longer to do that at scale.

So if they are not talking about building big new factories to crank out their batteries, it is the definition of vapour-ware.

A cell isn’t a battery until it can be produced in useful quantities!


Quiet an imagination.

Isn’t this what has happened with Nissan though not so dramatically? It’s stuck with less than optimal battery tech because it vertically integrated its own cells.

This hasn’t been a deal killer because its own tech has improved enough to still be marginally competitive. Same thing could happen with Tesla assuming it has the financial resources to weather the storm.

People always discount how the current technologies also improve.

DonC said:

“Isn’t this what has happened with Nissan though not so dramatically? It’s stuck with less than optimal battery tech because it vertically integrated its own cells.”

Right analogy; wrong conclusion.

Nissan had an internal debate over whether or not to shut down their own battery factories in favor of buying cells from LG Chem. But following a technology-sharing deal between LG Chem and Daimler (which is Nissan’s partner), Nissan now says they’ll be building next-generation cells starting in their Japanese battery plant, and then in their Tennessee plant.

This is the obvious path forward for the Gigafactory, if and when the next battery breakthrough comes. Someone has developed a better battery? Great! Then Tesla will license the tech and convert the Gigafactory to use it, as Nissan apparently has with its battery factories.

I don’t understand why people keep characterizing advances in battery tech as something which will make the Gigafactory “obsolete”. Quite the opposite; the Gigafactory will likely be in a better position than any other battery factory to swiftly take advantage of the new tech!



If you can’t grasp Musk’s argument against Fuel Cells in passenger vehicles– then you have absolutely no credibility in discussing the visbility of his battery factory.

Viability, sorry.

Mark B. Spiegel said:

“…develop solid-state batteries that will turn the Gigafactory into an obsolete white elephant just a year or two after it’s operating at full scale.”

There are many, many companies and university research teams working hard to commercialize the next breakthrough battery tech. The odds that Toyota will be the one to achieve that seems rather low, since they clearly have turned away from trying hard to develop BEV technology.

When the next a breakthru new battery tech is developed, the Gigafactory won’t be any more “obsolete” than any other li-ion battery factory. And Tesla, which is leading the EV revolution, will still be in the best position to take advantage of the new tech.

I see no reason why it would take longer for the Gigafactgory to be converted to use the new tech than any other battery factory. Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

Tesla uses a Particular Chemistry in their 18650 Cells, but has already started with a newer chemistry mix for the cells used in the latest options – with the addition of small amounts of Silicone to enhance the energy carry capacities of those cells!

They are also working with at least two Universities on Battery Cell Chemistry Research – so they are not sitting still either!

Plus, the Gigafactory will not be producing cells for Laptops, in the current 18650 Size Specs, but will be producing other, likely larger cells, specifically suited for the Model 3 and it’s needs.

Increasing cell size slightly, and improving the Chemistry Slightly, can be quite enough to continue their lead in the Model 3, while other Battery chemistries get figured out.

For everyone wondering about the “sakichi battery” – that’s Toyotas name for a batterie as good as gasoline:

Imho far less energy is needed to render gasoline useless in cars. Though I wonder what devices would be possible with sakichi batteries (handheld railguns, electric jetpacks…)

Silicone? (should be Silicon)
Sakichi? (wish it’s good as gas)
Really? (this article looks wishy-washy)

Panasonic’s batteries are already over 600 Wh/l. I guess it’s time for Toyota to get busy building a BEV.

While Toyota is waiting for batteries to get 5-10 times smaller in volume for the same capacity, other manufactures will design with components available today.

As an observation, the 2016 LEAF will have a range of 100+ miles while the 2016 has a range of ~20 miles. A similar 5x difference. What this is essentially saying is that Toyota is waiting until the battery capacity of a LEAF pack will be available in the volume-size of a Prius pack (ie: fits under a back seat.

Where Toyota will fall behind is in body design and integration. Vehicles like the 500e, eGolf, i3, LEAF, SoulEV, ModelS, etc have already been design to carry a usable volume of battery space. In future, as energy density increases, these vehicle will just get longer range. Toyota on the other hand is focused with using a small limited amount of design space in a vehicle.

IMO: it’s better to design to known constraints vs. waiting for constraints to fit a preferred design. Flexibility in design evolution always wins!

Note that current battery tech beats current hydrogen tech in KW/L, WH/L, $/KWh, just about every parameter thinkable yet Toyota comes up with a HFCV but can’t be bothered with BEVs.

Of course better battery tech is… well, better but current battery tech already goes a pretty long way and I would like Toyota to show us a graph that shows when the hydrogen it hypes will even get on par with current battery tech.

That’ll happen when Toyota successfully lobbies God to have the laws of physics changed.

Stupid idea having hydrogen atoms be so small anyway. They really should be a bit bigger, say around the same size as a lithium atom,… oh?

Unless the relevant metric is what California and London redefine it as. That would be $/car, coming from the Californian and British taxpayer. But not the Chinese taxpayer, as the Chinese are wise to this sham.

According to some reports, Toyota has totally stopped all development of Lithium battery and will focus only on Nickel battery for Hybrids.

At that same time, they are moving to Fuel Cells and that’s why they are promoting Mirai and pulled out Prius Plugin.

But battery prices have already gone down so much that 200 mile range EVs at sub 40K price will soon become a reality.

Still they may not change since they are selling 10 million vehicles/year.

If that’s true then I think they’re in for a whole world of hurt. I still think they can change direction in time, and that they will.

My current thinking is that by end of 2017 both Toyota and Honda will have started to abandon their current strategy and will gradually promote plug in vehicles more and FCEV vehicles less.

I’m certain, say pretty sure, that Toyota isn’t dragging their feet as much as outsider poster fan here, think they are.
They most probably have move into BEV inside their corpus, but don’t publicly show it at large because of conflicting financial interest.
China as already ruled out hydrogen and Toyota want to share that market as well as the already basic growing BEV worldwide market.
For now, it’s not a valuable target, but they keep an eye on it.
They just play the game of stupid policy implemented by interested lobby about ZEV credit and subsidies.
They already have plant their feet in next BEV, but haven’t seen any financial advantage or risk to dive in right now.
With all the capability they have, don’t fool yourself thinking they’re out there sleeping, they are waiting in rampage ready to jump on big time and make the catch.
Why would we think they can’t bluff everyone?

When you make >1bb a quarter, by not delivering innovation, you criticize those who do and milk the s* out of the market share you have left.

I don’t buy any of Toyota’s misinformation campaign. The energy density required to make reasonable BEVs already exists. Tesla has proved that.

Look at the Model S. It has a large trunk, comfortable seating for 5 and a Frunk (front trunk) to boot. I don’t even notice where the battery is located. It certainly does not encroach on any of the interior space.

The skateboard architecture that Tesla developed and is happy to share through its open patents is the key to overcoming any energy density issue.

I hope everyone sees Toyota “new target in battery technology” as what it is. A stall tactic that allows it to continue making loads of profit with its current technology. Its not a conspiracy. Its a simple business decision to maximize short term profit, along with a misinformation campaign to explain its actions.