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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Toyota says it’s investing $13.6B in car batteries over the next decade

Toyota will invest about $ 13.6 billion in battery technology over the next decade, including a $ 9 billion investment in production, as it tries to electrify its line of vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reports. It reportedly plans to have 10 battery production lines by 2025, eventually increasing to around 70 at an unannounced number of factories around the world. Eventually, it could produce up to 200GWh of batteries, the company’s chief technology officer, Masahiko Maeda, announced at a Press conference.

Toyota’s commitments reflect similar investments planned by others in the auto industry. Volkswagen plans to produce around 240GWh of batteries in Europe alone by 2030, the WSJ he notes, while Ford has said it plans to produce 240GWh globally by then, including 140GWh in North America.

It’s a big investment from Toyota and indicates that the world’s largest automaker by volume is getting more serious about electrifying its line. Although the company was an early leader in gas-electric hybrid cars with the Prius, it reportedly viewed hybrids as a provisional measure until hydrogen fuel cells became competitive. Now the company is catching up with companies like Nissan and has reportedly lobbied to slow down America’s transition to electric vehicles.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced an electric vehicle strategy that will see it launch 70 electric cars globally by 2025, including 15 fully electric vehicles, as well as hybrid and hydrogen-powered models. As part of the strategy, it announced the BZ4X electric SUV concept, which it hopes to launch in China and Japan starting this year. By 2030, the company wants about 80 percent of its cars to include some form of battery power, the WSJ notes.

Toyota hopes its investments can help reduce the cost of batteries by 30 percent thanks to improvements in cell materials and designs. On the vehicle side, it also aims to develop cars that use batteries more efficiently, resulting in 30 percent less energy consumed per kilometer. “Through this integrated vehicle and battery development, we aim to reduce the cost of the battery per vehicle by 50 percent compared to the Toyota BZ4X in the second half of the 2020s,” said Maeda.

The company also continues its work on solid-state batteries, which could eventually lead to more densely packed, safer and faster load cells. Reuters notes. Toyota hopes to start manufacturing these batteries in the middle of the decade, but admits there is still research to be done to improve the cost and life of the technology.

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