Toyota Motor Corporation announced on Tuesday that it will spend a massive $13.6 billion, or 1.5 trillion yen, on battery supply systems and research and development of electric vehicle battery technology by 2030. The investment will help the Japanese automaker establish a system for the development and supply of batteries for electrified models.
In April, Toyota debuted the bZ4X BEV concept and announced plans to roll out 15 BEVs under the bZ (Beyond Zero) family. Toyota surged into sustainable transportation with the development and release of the Prius Hybrid years ago, but the company has not significantly contributed to the development or sale of fully electric powertrains. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has not been in any hurry to develop electrified models for customers and still believes that the company remains light years ahead of EV competitors like Tesla due to size, experience, and production.
However, Tuesday’s announcement was a step in the right direction for the Japanese automaker, especially as it aims to cut the cost of battery production and increase the effectiveness of its cells. Its first order of business will be to slash battery costs by 30% or more by working with battery materials and structures, a process that is commonly utilized by many automakers that are developing EVs. Batteries make up a vast majority of the cost of an electric car, with the key to reducing the price of the vehicle lying within cell development. “We are still searching for the best materials to use,” Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said regarding the company’s plans to develop solid-state battery manufacturing lines by the mid-2020s.
After Toyota works on slashing the prices of its cells to control vehicle costs, the company will then work to improve power consumption, Maeda said. “Then, for the vehicle, we aim to improve power consumption, which is an indicator of the amount of electricity used per kilometer, by 30%, starting with the Toyota bZ4X,” according to Reuters.
Toyota’s focus is geared toward solid-state batteries, which are advantageous due to increased energy density, faster charging, and safer battery operation.
The solid-state batteries will also be included in hybrid electric cars like the Prius, Toyota said during the presentation.
Evidently aligning with the goal of carbon neutrality to support environmental stability, Toyota said it “would like to contribute…by improving its adaptability to change and its competitiveness, as well as by aiming for the fundamental widespread acceptance of ever-better electrified vehicles.”
You can watch Toyota’s presentation below: