NAGOYA, Japan — If all had gone according to plan, Tokyo would be hosting the Summer Olympics right now, and Toyota Motor Corp., one of the games' top sponsors, would be on center stage there, showcasing the holy grail of next-generation electrified mobility: solid-state batteries.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the 2020 Games, but not Toyota's engineers. The company's battery gurus have succeeded in producing a working prototype of the new battery technology on schedule, and have mounted them in running concept vehicles.
Keiji Kaita, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp.'s powertrain company and field general manager of its battery business, said it is too soon to say when the prototypes will make an official public debut, with the Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021. Kaita talked with Automotive News here about the new promise of the solid- state battery technology and the obstacles that hinder commercialization.