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The big picture: Toyota has achieved a significant breakthrough that puts the company one step closer to launching electric vehicles powered by advanced solid-state batteries. The Japanese automaker already had its sights set on rolling out new cars with game-changing battery capabilities in the near future. Now they seemingly have a path to get there, but will this really be the holy grail of battery technology or yet another inflated promise full of hot air?
"For both our liquid and solid-state batteries, we are aiming to drastically change the situation where current batteries are too big, heavy and expensive," said Keiji Kaita, president of Toyota's research and development center for carbon neutrality. "In terms of potential, we will aim to halve all of these factors."
The Financial Times reports that Toyota has developed a way to simplify the production process for battery materials. According to Toyota, the breakthrough will allow them to turn out EVs with a range of about 745 miles and a recharge time of 10 minutes or less.
Rolling out models with real-world range and recharge times like these would no doubt help propel Toyota to the top of the EV food chain, but it is not going to happen overnight. Kaita believes Toyota could mass produce a solid-state battery with these capabilities by 2027 or 2028. That's not too far out, but rest assured the competition isn't going to just sit by idly and wait for Toyota to bury them.
Related reading: Ford: The US can't compete with China on electric vehicles, for now
The EV landscape as a whole could look drastically different five years from now. Then again, it could just as easily resemble today's market where the average EV range is less than half of what Toyota is promising from its advanced solid-state batteries.
If Toyota can deliver, it would be a massive leap forward with multiple beneficiaries. Unfortunately, we have become jaded by the sheer number of promises about game-changing battery technology over the years. Batteries have come a long way, but it has been more evolutionary than revolutionary.
In short, I will believe Toyota's claims when I see it.