Toyota Motor Corp. and Idemitsu Kosan Co. are jointly developing the technology and manufacturing facilities needed to mass-produce solid-state batteries for electric cars.
(Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp. and Idemitsu Kosan Co. are jointly developing the technology and manufacturing facilities needed to mass-produce solid-state batteries for electric cars.
The partnership will focus on advancing solid sulfide electrolytes that could boost battery output and establishing a supply chain for mass production, the companies said in a statement Thursday.
“Durability remains one of the biggest challenges in developing solid state batteries,” Toyota Chief Executive Officer Koji Sato told reporters Thursday. “We can now see the beginnings of a battery with both high function and lasting durability.”
The batteries would first be used in electric cars manufactured by Toyota. Neither Sato nor Idemitsu Chief Executive Officer Shunichi Kito ruled out the possibility of supplying other companies further down the line.
A pilot facility has been operating since November 2021 at one of Idemitsu’s refineries in Chiba Prefecture, Kito said. When the time comes to build a manufacturing plant, the aim is to locate it near Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture, said Keiji Kaita, president of Toyota’s carbon neutral engineering development center.
Idemitsu shares jumped following the announcement, rising as much as 8.5% in afternoon trading in Tokyo, the biggest gain since December 2018. Toyota climbed 2.8%.
Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, announced in June its goal to commercialize solid state batteries by 2027 or 2028, part of a push to show that it’s forging ahead with plans to electrify and automate its lineup. If successful, such batteries will have longer range and charge faster.
“For Toyota, this announcement sends a message that its goal to develop solid state batteries for battery electric vehicles is moving forward as planned,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tatsuo Yoshida. “The agreement will broadly attract stakeholders and streamline the partnership internally for both companies.”
Idemitsu has been researching sulfide-based solid electrolytes since 2001, while Toyota has been researching solid state batteries since 2006. They began joint research in 2013 and built a working prototype vehicle in 2020.
Idemitsu, an oil refiner and petrochemicals company, and Toyota formed a task force to develop sulfide solid electrolytes for large-scale battery production in time for Toyota to roll out its next-generation battery-based EVs as early as 2027.
Toyota has pledged to sell 1.5 million BEVs annually by 2026, and 3.5 million by 2030.
In September, Toyota invited press on a tour of its manufacturing facilities in Aichi Prefecture, where it unveiled the progress it was making in developing the technology it needs to scale EV production.
(Corrects battery specifications in seventh paragraph.)
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