Toyota has hinted that it will deploy solid-state batteries in its hybrid vehicles before introducing the technology to EVs.
Hybrids will continue to play a core role in the company's electrification strategy, and powertrain boss Thiebault Pâquet told Autocar the benefits of solid-state technology include quicker charging, quicker discharging and reduced heat generation.
“We can test and evaluate the technology in those circumstances,” he added, suggesting the technology will be refined in less EV-intensive hybrid applications before it makes its way to EVs.
The move comes as Toyota reinforces its ongoing commitment to hybrid technology in the coming years.
European boss Matt Harrison explained that Toyota and Lexus will achieve a 70% electrified sales mix in Western Europe this year and “hybrid powertrains continue to attract new customers to both brands – especially those that are looking for practical and accessible ways to reduce their carbon footprint”.
European research-and-development boss Gerald Killman said Toyota will begin selling cars with solid-state batteries from around the middle of the decade, with plans to deliver “higher output, longer range and shorter charging times”.
He confirmed that a functioning prototype vehicle equipped with the technology was built last year for testing purposes, with an ongoing development programme centred around durability.
“We believe solid-state batteries have great potential for battery electric vehicles”, he added.
Hints at Toyota’s next-generation hybrid system come as it rolls out an updated Gen5 powertrain in its new Corolla Cross SUV - bringing improved efficiency and performance courtesy of subtle mechanical modifications over the current system used by the Toyota C-HR, Toyota Corolla, Highlander, Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Yaris.