As the world starts to move on from the internal combustion engine, established automakers are making massive investments in electrification. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), which revolutionized the auto industry after it introduced the hybrid Toyota Prius more than two decades ago, has announced that it expects to spend more than $13 billion by 2030 developing electric vehicle (“EV”) batteries as well as a battery supply mechanism. EV batteries are still a work in progress, with automakers and battery makers working to develop lighter, energy-dense batteries, and Toyota’s investment will be instrumental in cementing the Japanese automaker’s spot in the crucial EV battery segment.
Electric vehicle batteries rely on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for power. These battery packs make up a significant portion of an electric vehicle’s weight, and they are the most expensive components in an EV due to the scarcity of the minerals used to build lithium-ion batteries. By developing battery packs that are cheaper, lighter and more energy-dense, players in the EV space can kill two birds with one stone by making EVs more affordable and increasing their range. Toyota’s goal is to reduce the cost of EV batteries by at least 30% by rethinking how the raw materials are used and tweaking the way each single lithium-ion cell is structured.
On top of that, the automaker wants to reduce power consumption by 30%, says company CTO Masahiko Maeda, which would give batteries more mileage. Toyota is also one of the few companies looking to produce solid-state EV batteries on a large scale, which as the name suggests, employ a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid. Solid-state batteries have superior energy density than liquid electrolyte batteries, require shorter charge durations and are generally less likely to catch fire, making them a game changer for the nascent EV industry. If it perfects this technology for mass production, Toyota could soon be manufacturing EVs equipped with safer, less-bulky and energy-dense batteries that can charge a lot faster.
At the moment, Toyota is still grappling with the short lifespan of solid-state cells, Maeda reveals, but the Japanese automaker is still intent on producing this superior type of battery by the middle of this decade. Toyota will have to overcome a few hurdles to achieve this goal, such as the high cost of producing the batteries as well as their inclination to contract during use and crack during the expansion phase of their operation. Once this technology is perfected, Toyota plans to use it on its iconic hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius.
The EV sector is likely to see plenty of innovative products in the years to come, especially in light of the fact that many companies, including Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE), bring experience and perspectives from other industries into the electric vehicle industry.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/NETE
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