Toyota and Idemitsu Kosan, a prominent oil refiner, have recently announced a collaborative effort to advance the development and mass production of all-solid-state batteries. This partnership underscores the growing trend of automotive industry players forming alliances in response to the transformative shift towards electric vehicles (EVs).
The primary goal of this venture is to bring next-generation batteries to commercial markets by 2027-28 and subsequently achieve large-scale manufacturing. Toyota’s strategic shift towards EVs, revealed in June, includes plans to integrate these innovative batteries, which have the potential to significantly enhance the driving range of EVs. This move reflects Toyota’s ambition to catch up with competitors like Tesla and Chinese manufacturers such as BYD in the EV sector. Toyota has already identified a “technological breakthrough” that addresses durability concerns associated with solid-state batteries and is actively working on methods for their mass production.
Idemitsu Kosan, the second-largest oil refiner in Japan, has been engaged in the development of solid sulfide electrolyte, a critical component of these advanced batteries. Koji Sato, Toyota’s CEO, highlighted the collaboration’s objective during a news conference, stating that by combining the material development expertise of both companies, along with Idemitsu’s material manufacturing capabilities and Toyota’s expertise in battery mass production, they intend to commence large-scale production of all-solid-state batteries.
Solid-state batteries have the capacity to store more energy than conventional liquid electrolyte batteries, and experts believe they will expedite the transition to EVs. According to Toyota, an EV powered by a solid-state battery could achieve a remarkable range of 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) with a swift 10-minute charging time.
Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that the production of such advanced batteries remains relatively costly and is expected to remain so for several years. Idemitsu has been actively expanding its presence in the EV battery supply chain, as demonstrated by its increased stake in the Australian lithium developer Delta Lithium earlier this year. This strategic move aligns with the broader global trend of automakers shifting towards electrification.