Solid-state batteries are one of the hottest areas of research in the EV industry. Nearly every major company in the auto industry is attempting to make them a viable power source for electric cars. Their compactness and lightweight – especially compared to the lithium-ion batteries currently installed in practically every EV – make them too tantalizing to resist.

Despite Toyota’s apparent hesitance to go electric (its only EV at present is the bZ4X SUV), the company has been working on solid-state EV batteries for several years. The Japanese automaker has recently entered a partnership with the petroleum company Idemitsu to bring its solid-state batteries to long-awaited fruition.

Toyota: The Unexpected Future Leader In EV Tech

Solid-state batteries may put Toyota in an unexpected place in the automotive industry: in the technological lead. Toyota has always been a bit technologically conservative compared to other companies (which is a big part of why its cars and trucks famously never die).

However, as of now, no automaker has managed to get a solid-state battery into a production EV other than Nio. As shown by their absence from roadways and automotive production lines, solid-state batteries seem to defy all attempts to get them to work in cars.

At present, no auto company has managed to create a viable solid-state EV battery. While it’s hard to get an honest assessment from any company about the state of its research (no one ever wants to put out a press release that says “things are not going well”), Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries for at least a decade. Idemitsu has been studying lithium sulfide batteries since 2001.

This adds up to a combined total of over 30 years of experience and knowledge, which should mean the two companies are closer than practically everyone else in the industry when it comes to getting a solid-state battery in an actual car.

Toyota’s Solid-State Battery Prototype

Toyota has released photos of a prototype solid-state battery. This news went under-reported; likely in part because the prototype battery looks like a box with fins, which simply isn’t as exciting as a hot concept car.


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