TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. aims to commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries several years later, as successors to today's lithium ion batteries.
The solid-state batteries will be three or four times more powerful than lithium ion batteries, while lithium air will achieve a fivefold increase in output for the same weight, said Shigeki Suzuki, managing officer for material engineering.
"That's what we're aiming for," Suzuki said on the sidelines of an advanced automotive battery conference here. He did not detail rollout plans or vehicle volumes.
Both technologies have advantages over the lithium ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries used in hybrid and electric vehicles. They are smaller, use fewer costly materials such as rare earths and have lower internal resistance.
In solid-state batteries, engineers replace the liquid electrolyte used in lithium ion batteries with a solid one. That makes the battery more compact and more stable, allowing a higher voltage to be packed into a smaller package, Suzuki said.
In lithium air batteries, the lithium cathode used in lithium ion batteries is replaced with one that interacts with oxygen. This requires less material and allows for lighter packaging. They have much higher energy density than current batteries.
The goal is a battery with energy density approaching that of gasoline. Electric vehicles achieve only limited range because the typical lithium ion battery has an energy density only one-fiftieth that of a tank of gasoline, Suzuki said.
"Next-generation battery cells need to exceed the energy density in lithium ion batteries significantly," Suzuki said. "We've been accelerating our development of those next-generation batteries technologies since 2010."