Toyota Discovers Way To Increase Battery Capacity By 15%



There is perhaps no mainstream automaker that has been more dismissive of electric vehicles than Toyota. So imagine my surprise when I read the Japanese automaker’s announcement that it had observed lithium-ion deviation in batteries, allowing for as much as a 15% increase in range and capacity of current battery technology. Is Toyota having second thoughts when it comes to hydrogen fuel-cell technology?

“The lithium-ion battery is a key technology for electrifying cars, and there is a clear need, going forward, for improving this technology and its performance even more,” said Toyota battery technology researcher Hisao Yamashige in the announcement. The so-called lithium ion deviation, which occurs in electrodes and the electrolyte as a result of charging/discharging, is believed to be responsible for both peak battery performance and eventual degradation, though researchers aren’t exactly sure why as the deviation was not possible to observe with standard scientific instruments.

Instead, Toyota turned to the SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility which, according to Wikipedia, “…is used for materials analysis and biochemical protein characterization by many Japanese manufacturers and universities.” The facility also grants free use of their equipment, so long as the companies publish their results. I’m guessing Toyota saved quite a bit of money by sharing it with the public.

Toyota’s corporate line has been that electric vehicles are only good for short-range driving, and that hydrogen fuel-cells are a better option as a replacement for current car technology. Just last month, however, the automaker was rumored to be preparing a line of long-range electric vehicles for launch in 2020. Armed with this new information, Toyota could have a sizable advantage over other traditional automakers if it can offer 15% more driving range at a comparable price.

The flip side of this coin is that Toyota Mirai sales haven’t exactly been booming, hindered by a slow rollout of hydrogen fueling stations. Has Toyota seen the light? Or is the automaker merely keeping its options open?

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • trackdaze

    Missed the boat staring at its hybrid navel. Now its trying to catch a tender out to the horizon.

  • walter

    15% increase????? Wh/kg please!!!!!

  • Joe Viocoe

    15% better than what Toyota had 5 years ago.
    The world has changed since then.

    • Steve Hanley

      I have to agree. Tesla doubled the capacity of the Powerwall in one year while lowering the price. All of the major car companies are beating their breasts about beating Tesla as its own game, but all of them are simply reacting to the Tesla challenge. None are leading the way.

      • kevin mccune

        Let me say this,if I can get a pure electric ,with honestly half the range of current ICEs ,then I wil be happy.Not so many decades ago ,thats where we ,where at then ( and I got around just fine( now I am talking about those legendary boats that people claimed got over 20 mpg cruising or the sedans that got better mileage then a Beetle .

  • wattleberry

    Do the comments mean others have already quietly sorted this or is it a genuine breakthrough?