Toyota has announced that its first vehicles to use the new solid-state batteries will be hybrids instead of completely electric vehicles (EVs), the first of which will be available by 2025.
The use of solid-state batteries is the next important development in EV production. As opposed to the lithium-ion batteries used in today’s EVs, they will provide a greater range, faster charging, and extended battery life, but more development is required on this front.
Toyota had announced in 2020 that it was working on solid-state battery-powered prototypes. It recently revealed in an interview with Autoline at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 that its solid-state battery vehicles will be sold by 2025.
Toyota’s chief scientist and head of the Toyota Research Institute, Gill Pratt, mentioned that the company plans to “commercialize” its solid-state batteries in the first half of this decade. However, instead of fully-electric cars, the first Toyota vehicles to receive the new batteries will be hybrids.
Pratt explained that although solid-state batteries are currently more expensive to manufacture, hybrid cars have smaller battery packs than EVs, and installing the batteries in hybrids first will reduce the cost.
Another issue with solid-state batteries is battery life, and the prototype batteries had succumbed to repeated charging. The smaller battery in a hybrid vehicle is charged or recharged more frequently, and Pratt believes that the increased battery cycling will make hybrids an excellent testbed for the new technology.
“We want to start by putting them in vehicles where we believe that they’re both the most well suited in terms of lifetime but also that will exercise them sufficiently so that as costs continue to come down, we can roll them out in the future in (battery-electric vehicles) also,” Pratt said.
While Toyota has not revealed the model that will be used as the first one for this purpose, it is speculated that it could be the Prius as it was once a hybrid trendsetter.