Toyota is preparing new battery technologies that will be the key to the next generation of electric vehicles. This is your roadmap through the end of this decade to get to solid drums. Toyota knows that the electric car will end up prevailing. After a first and a second generation of vehicles that it has decided to skip, stretching its hybrid offer in a time of transition in which this technology continues to be very profitable, now a new stage has arrived. The current CEO knows that it is time to think about a third generation of vehicles that technologically do satisfy the needs of their customers. For this reason, and without making much noise, Toyota has been working on various technologies that will mean a radical change in its offer, especially those that involve batteries.
The countless criticisms that the Japanese have suffered force them to show that they have a winning plan in the new disruptive era of electric vehicles, which for Toyota is the future and for others, it is already present. For this reason, the manufacturer has revealed new details about its plans to take a leap that will allow it to get ahead of the competition in just a few years.
Solid-state batteries for electric vehicles with ranges reaching nearly 1,500 km (900 miles); “ultra-slick” aerodynamics, developed through spacecraft; operating systems with self-updating software; and futuristic factories where manufacturing modules move on their own to final assembly. The Toyota of the future will have nothing to do with the current Toyota.
The ‘Step 3’ of electric cars
Amid criticism from investors, environmental activists, and electric vehicle enthusiasts that Toyota is not fully invested in the change taking place in the industry, the manufacturer has organized an event at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center, at the foot of Mount Fuji, under the slogan “let’s change the future of automobiles”.
There, several of its top executives revealed, for the first time, part of this broad strategy aimed at demonstrating that the company has the technology and production system needed to lead the automotive industry from 2026. Toyota maintains its objective to sell 3.5 million electric vehicles per year in 2030 and promises that around 1.7 million of them will have these new generation technologies which he calls ‘Step 3’ (‘ Step 3′) of this new industry.
Several advanced batteries until reaching the solid electrolyte
“We are determined to lead the world market in batteries,” said Chief Technology Officer Hiroki Nakajima. “We will need various options for the batteries, just as we have different powertrains. These batteries must be compatible with any type of model.”
Keiji Kaita, the ‘battery guru’ and president of its Advanced Engineering Development Center outlined five new variants that will be available later this decade. This process will start in 2026 with next-generation lithium-ion batteries that will double the range of those currently used by the bZ4X. They calculate that, with them, up to 1,000 km of range can be reached. Their cost will be 20% lower and they can be recharged from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes.
The next step will be a lithium iron phosphate bipolar battery arriving around 2026 or 2027. Bipolar batteries increase power density by combining the same current collector for the anode and cathode instead of a collector. independent for each. This battery will increase the range by 20% compared to the current bZ4X battery and will reduce its cost by 40%, thanks to the fact that it uses the LFP chemistry, much cheaper than the NCM ternary (nickel, cobalt, and manganese). Toyota already uses these types of batteries today, though only in nickel metal hydride chemistries for its non-plug-in hybrids.
The next stage is a nickel-based bipolar lithium-ion battery, which will hit the market between 2027 and 2028. It will improve range by 10% over the 1,000 km of the 2026 next-generation lithium-ion battery and will cost about 10% less.
In addition and parallel, Toyota will develop solid electrolyte batteries that will begin to arrive sometime in the second half of this decade. Although the Japanese firm previously stated that they could be a reality in the first half of the decade, now it does not expect to have them ready until 2027 or 2028. They will offer 20% more range than the lithium-ion batteries of 2026, which implies 1,200 km. Although Kaita does not dare to give a figure on the savings that they will entail in terms of production costs, he does assure that its recharge will not take more than 10 minutes.
Finally, Toyota foresees a second generation of solid batteries after 2028 that will provide 50% more range, which means, in practice, reaching up to 1,500 km of range.
These new battery packs will lead to a new line of next-generation electric vehicles already being developed from a clean slate from the recently created BEV Factory division.
Apart from the new batteries, these models will have new platforms, a new more aerodynamic design in which efficiency prevails, and new advanced software. They will also be assembled using new production methods. All these advances comprise the aforementioned ‘Step 3’ devised by its CEO, Koji Sato, for Toyota’s electric vehicle launch plan.
The head of Technology, Nakajima, estimates that around 1.7 million electric vehicles sold by the company in 2030 will have all the technological advances described as ‘Step 3’. The breakdown of the types of vehicles that will comprise your market is the one that we show below and that does not include a large part, that corresponds to the categories of medium and small cars.
- 600,000 crossovers and large SUVs.
- 360,000 midsize crossovers.
- 360,000 compact sedans, and hatchbacks.
- 240,000 large sedans, and hatchbacks.
- 120,000 minivans.