Toyota said to plan long-range, fast-charging electric cars

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Reuters
July 25, 2017 08:34 CET

TOKYO– Toyota is working on an electric car powered by a new type of battery that significantly increases driving range and reduces charging time, aiming to begin sales in 2022, a Japanese paper reported.

The car have an all-new platform. It will also use all-solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the Chunichi Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday, without citing sources.

By contrast, current EVs, which use lithium-ion batteries, need 20 minutes to 30 minutes to recharge even with fast chargers and typically have a range of just 300 km to 400 km (185 miles to 250 miles).

Toyota has decided to sell the new model in Japan as early as 2022, the paper said.

A Toyota spokeswoman said the company could not immediately comment on the report.

Toyota is looking to close the gap with EV leaders such as Nissan and Tesla as battery-powered cars gain traction around the globe as a viable emission-free alternative to conventional cars.

Whether Toyota will be able to leapfrog its rivals remains to be seen, however, as mass production requires a far more stringent level of quality control and reliability.

“There’s a pretty long distance between the lab bench and manufacturing,” said CLSA auto analyst Christopher Richter. “2022 is ages away, and a lot can change in the meantime.”

How quickly the new EVs will catch on would also depend largely on battery costs.

Having long touted hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids as the most sensible technology to make cars greener, Toyota last year said it wanted to add long-range EVs to its line-up, and set up a new in-house unit, headed by President Akio Toyoda, to develop and market EVs.

Toyota is reportedly planning to begin mass-producing EVs in China, the world’s biggest auto market, as early as in 2019, although that model would be based on the existing C-HR crossover and use lithium-ion batteries.

Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing all-solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years.

Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes rather than liquid ones, making them safer than lithium-ion batteries currently on the market.

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