Toyota will unveil a vehicle powered by solid state batteries at the 2020 Olympics as a means of showcasing its battery capability, the firm’s chief technology officer Shigeki Terashi has revealed ahead of the Tokyo motor show.
However, the solid state battery technology - which promises the potential for longer range in smaller and potentially cheaper battery packs which can also take charge faster - will not reach mass production until the middle of the decade, he added. When the technology is used in mass production vehicles it will be rolled out across the firm's entire line-up of EVs, he said.
"We will produce a car with solid state batteries and unveil it to you in 2020, but mass production with solid state batteries will be a little later," said Terashi, who also highlighted the battery know-how Toyota has accrued through its hybrid leadership developed with the Toyota Prius. While the solid state battery equipped car is expected to be a one-off prototype that will form some part of the event's opeing or closing ceremony, a further 12 semi-autonomous vehicles will run during the event using lithium-ion batteries.
That timeline still puts Toyota at the forefront of solid state battery technology. While Volkswagen has talked of a similar timeline, BMW, with which Toyota has various partnerships, has indicated that it doesn’t expect to be selling electrified vehicles using solid state batteries until 2030.
The Olympic show car is expected to be based on the Toyota e-Palette, an autonomous platform that the firm has developed and which it is offering to partners to use to showcase their own self-driving technologies.
An updated version of the e-Palette is expected to be shown at this year’s Tokyo motor show.