Toyota Plans Long Range, Fast Charging Electric Car By 2022


Toyota is not giving up on the hydrogen fuel cell technology that powers the Mirai, but is busy working in the background on an all electric car with solid state batteries that offer long range and fast recharging. The plan is to introduce the car, which will be built on an all new chassis, to the Japanese market in 2022. Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi tells Japanese daily news source Chunichi Shimbun the company will not comment on specific product plans but does intend to commercialize solid state batteries by the early 2020s.

Toyota electric car concept

Solid State Batteries Are The Future

No one doubts that solid state batteries are the future. Replacing the liquid electrolyte found in today’s lithium ion batteries will eliminate the risk of fire and explosion associated with current battery technology. That danger, while low, remains a concern for many people considering the purchase of an electric car.

To limit such risks, electric cars today must use sophisticated cooling systems to stabilize the temperature inside battery packs. Such systems add cost, weight, and bulk to the cars. Solid state batteries will not need such elaborate cooling systems, which will help bring down the cost of building an electric car. As an added bonus, they are capable of being recharged in much less time than a conventional lithium ion battery.

Researchers such as John Goodenough have been trying to build a robust, inexpensive solid state battery for decades. Toyota saying it will do so is one thing. Actually doing it is quite another. Israeli startup StoreDot says it has a solid state battery with a range of 300 miles that recharges in 5 minutes. Henrik Fisker claims his new EMotion electric car will go more than 400 miles on a single charge and then recharge in just 9 minutes. That car is set to hit the road in 2019.

New Electric Car Division At Toyota

Toyota created a new partnership last year that combines talent from Toyota Industries Corporation, Aisin Seiki Company, Denso Corporation, and Toyota Motor Company to design an electric car. The slimmed down unit began life with only 4 people — one from each corporatation — in order to trim bureaucratic “noise” and produce quick results.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said at the time, “Over these past few years, which we have positioned for strengthening our planting of seeds for the future, we have taken such measures as establishing the Toyota Research Institute, made Daihatsu a fully owned subsidiary, and have begun work to established an internal company responsible for compact vehicles for emerging markets. The new organizational structure for EVs is a part of this effort. As a venture company that will specialize in its field and embrace speed in its approach to work, it is my hope that it will serve as a pulling force for innovation in the work practices of Toyota and the Toyota Group.”

China Wags The Dog

Stirring words. Now to see how they translate into reality. Toyota, like all major car makers, is focused on the booming automobile market in China. It plans to introduce an electrified version of its C-HR sport utility vehicle using conventional lithium ion batteries there in 2019, spurred in part by the insistence of the Chinese government that at least 10% of the new cars sold in the country be EVs by that date. It also brought its highly imaginative Concept-i to the 2017 CES show in Las Vegas last January.

Toyota’s goal of building electric cars by 2022 is laudable, but a lot of water will have gone under the bridge by that time and the rest of the world’s automakers will not be sitting on their hands in the meantime. It would not be smart to count Toyota out, but their horse for the EV sweepstakes is more than a little late leaving the barn.

Source: Reuters

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Marc P

    With long range and fast charging as well as low weight and cost, it won’t be that “late” if it’s in showrooms in 2022 since that is the direction current EV’s are going in and it’s not even sure they’ll be there in 2022. It would be light years ahead of any EV currently in production or on the road and, yes, that INCLUDES Tesla… (sorry, fanboys…!).

    In any case, the next 5 years will certainly be interesting in the EV world !

    • Joe Viocoe

      Um, unless they plan on building a fast-changing network too. There’s no way to compete with Tesla.
      Also, if their “fast charging” is only 50 kW… that is not good enough.

      In the article says that they are planning in2022 to release Only to the Japanese domestic market. not really even competing with Tesla.

      There’s nothing to guarantee that this vehicle will be low-cost either. Toyota has a reputation for its low-cost hybrid, the Prius. But that vehicle has nearly 20 years of development and cost reduction. Toyota has no experience in mass producing lithium-ion battery packs and pure electric vehicles.
      Sorry Toyota fanboys.

      • Marc P

        Valid points for sure and, for the record, I’m not a Toyota fanboy, though I must admit, I have warm fuzzy feelings when I think of my 2007 Highlander Hybrid (I wish I had never sold !).

        As for Tesla having the upper hand, it’s important to remember, the only one with the upper hand is the consumer and his pocket book…

        Nobody in their right mind would say the Dodge Grand Caravan is the best built minivan in the world, but it is the best selling one…! Don’t dismiss the main car manufacturers in the EV race just yet.

        • Joe Viocoe

          There are fanboys for Tesla to be sure. But there are just as many, if not more, casual admirers who do acknowledge all the benefits and features of Tesla. You don’t need to be a “fanboy” to know Tesla IS the best in many respects. That term is really tossed around too much, and rarely used correctly.

          Not all automakers try to be “the best selling”. There is room for premium brands in any market… including automotive. Toyota does lead in the economy market for sure. But Tesla doesn’t necessarily want to compete there. That doesn’t mean they are better.

          A Toyota EV launched in 2022, in Japan only, would hardly compete with today’s EVs, certainly not Tesla. Nissan will probably be the closest competitor, and they have the lead in economical EVs. We should not assume what was true for the past will be true for the future. Volkswagen was a leader in many ways, and now their future is uncertain. Toyota has been a hybrid leader, but they wasted a lot of time and energy on FCVs… and won’t easily compete with Li-Ion BEVs coming so late to the game.

          • Marc P

            I’m reacting to Tesla fanboys’ illogical ramblings predicting Tesla market domination and the complete destruction of the main manufacturers since they’re certainly not as good as Tesla. I’m simplifying but not that much, depending on the posters.

            It’s most likely Tesla will continue to have success in the premium and now mid-range markets, but to predict that legacy manufacturers will just die off cuz Tesla’s so damn good is just stupidity.

            BTW, I don’t know where you got the idea VW’s fortunes are uncertain since it’s still the world’s largest car manufacturer, all this, despite dieselgate !

            Toyota is certainly taking the slow road to BEV’s, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have success doing it, even if it’s relatively late to the game. Time will tell.

          • Joe Viocoe

            I haven’t heard/seen any posts suggesting GM, Toyota, or other large automaker will “die off”. Usually that kind of hyperbole comes from people making a straw man argument or being sarcastic.

            Again, “uncertain future” doesn’t mean “die off”, nor does it mean they won’t remain one of the largest (btw, they are ranked 3rd in a close race as of Jun 2017). Its the straw man again. Nobody is really jumping to such extremes as you seem to be interpreting.

            “that doesn’t mean it won’t have success doing it”…
            Yeah, nobody is saying that they won’t have “success”. But that is not the same as “leading” either. Which was your original post, that Toyota, “would be light years ahead of any EV currently in production or on the road and, yes, that INCLUDES Tesla”.

            Toyota can have “success” in 5th place in the EV market by 2022, which would contradict your claim.

          • Marc P

            “Nobody is really jumping to such extremes as you seem to be interpreting.” Hmmm, wish I had more time to look up the comments in the last year or even just the last month, but I don’t think I’m interpreting that much. As far as I’ve seen, Tesla fanboys really like hyperbole !

            As for being light years ahead, I was referring to the solid state battery described in the article. Such a battery technology would be light years ahead of what is **currently** offered (by all, including Tesla). But of course, maybe Tesla will jump ahead with better battery tech as well…?? Who knows?

            Also, if he’s true to his word and original vision, Mr Musk was actually hoping to create all this competition in the EV world. I find it truly ironic that some of Mr Musk’s fanboys are craping all over Tesla’s competition which is what he was hoping to create from the start.

          • Joe Viocoe

            I’ve mostly seen people over-react to simple claims, rather than people (even fanboys) legitimately claiming such hyperbole. Over the course of this very conversation, neither of us a fanboy here,… misunderstanding and escalation led to VW going under and… which was never claimed.

            You mentioned, “long range and fast charging as well as low weight and cost” and didn’t mention solid state tech at all. So forgive me for not seeing that as the primary reason Toyota could surpass all other EV automakers.
            Keep in mind… Fisker made a similar claim of commercializing solid state batteries.
            Now they are saying, “Um, nevermind”.

            Elon Musk / Tesla Motors has always remained flexible about battery chemistry. When solid state batteries do become feasible… they can start putting them into their cars just as easily as Toyota could. Probably faster since the base technology and production capability are not that different. Toyota is still starting from a huge disadvantage.

          • Marc P

            Ends up I didn’t have to look far for hyperbole…: “There’s no way to compete with Tesla.” (in your first reply, about Tesla’s fast charging network).

            T’s fast charging network works only as long as it’s a premium brand selling a few thousand cars and making a hefty profit margin on each one. It’s not a sustainable practice in the mainstream arena where margins are slimmer and that’s true of any manufacturer. I’ve read of frustrated Tesla owners waiting in line at their current charging stations right now. Imagine when they’ll be rolling out 500 000 model 3’s a year…! There’s a limit to how many charging stations they can build in a set amount of time…

            And, in any case, fast charging may or may not be that much of an issue, whatever the charging rate, since most people’s EV charging will be done at home, overnight.

          • Jim Smith

            Thank goodness Tesla is doubling its super charging network. Yes, there is no way to compete with Tesla without a world wide super charger network.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Just because you disagree, doesn’t make it hyperbole. It looks like you may have a propensity for exaggerating arguments. I see why you would think that so many people are fanboys or are making wild claims. If you ever do find comments of people actually claiming that automakers like Toyota will go bankrupt or something…. Let me know. Don’t forget to include the context.

            As far as the need for a fast charging network, of course the larger the battery pack the less dense the charging infrastructure needs to be. Even at nearly 300 miles per charge, Tesla owners still get great value from the existing fast charging network. They are ramping up the building of this network just as fast as they are ramping up production of vehicles.

            We don’t know how big the battery pack, or the range will be for this mythical Toyota battery electric vehicle coming in 2022 in Japan. Given the size of the Japanese mainland, I doubt they need to include a large battery pack. which means that this vehicle in question not likely be suitable for the North American market.

            What limit do you think there is on building a charging network? I don’t see any limit. You can run construction crews in parallel. As long as you can allocate $2000 for every model 3 sold… there is plenty of money to distribute to more and more construction crews. Battery and vehicle production Are MUCH more constrained then fast charging networks.

  • Joe Viocoe

    “Replacing the liquid electrolyte found in today’s lithium ion batteries will eliminate the risk of fire and explosion associated with current battery technology.”

    I’ve never heard of an electric vehicle battery pack exploding. Fire, yes, but usually they start burning giving the occupant plenty of time to leave the vehicle. Individual cells may pop off, but the whole pack doesn’t seem likely to explode like gasoline or hydrogen tanks could. In fact, most battery explosions come from thermal/chemical reactions producing hydrogen that is improperly vented.

    Yes, it is nice that they will be safer. But the true benefit of solid-state batteries is the fact that they can handle extremely high rates of charge without overheating.