Toyota, Tesla and others battle for the best battery technology

Posted Sep 4, 2017 by Ken Hanly
Toyota is reported to be working on an electric car that will be powered by a solid state battery. It hopes to begin sales of the new vehicle in 2022. The car is said to be based on an all-new platform and will be able to recharge in just a few minutes.
Three converted Prius Plug-In Hybrids Charging at San Francisco City Hall public recharging station
Three converted Prius Plug-In Hybrids Charging at San Francisco City Hall public recharging station
Felix Kramer (CalCars).
While there are many new types of batteries being researched Toyota believes that solid-state batteries are the closest to practical application for commercial purposes. The batteries are expected to be compact enough to be placed under the seats and the interior of the new cars should be roomy and comfortable.
A key difference between solid-state batteries and the commonly used lithium-ion battery is that the latter uses a liquid chemical electrolytic solution to regulate the flow of current between the anode and cathode of the battery but the former does not.
Solid state batteries can be up to six times faster charging than regular lithium-ion batteries. The battery can hold up to twice the energy density as well. The batteries can last up to ten years as compared to an expected two years for regular lithium-ion batteries. There are no flammable components and thus no batteries catching fire. There is also the possibility of using other chemicals to replace lithium which is scarce and will no doubt become more expensive as demand increases. An article by Android Authority states there are eight different major categories of solid state batteries with each one using different materials to form the electrolyte: Li-Halide, Perovskite, Li-Hydride, NASICON-like, Garnet, Argyrodite, LiPON, and LISICON-like.
Battery researcher Shinji Nakanishi talked of transitioning from the present Li-ion batteries to solid state batteries and then Li-air batteries. “We want our electric cars to go 500 km. And for this, we want rechargeable batteries that can generate 800 to 1,000 watt-hours per liter.” This would be two or even three times the energy density of the best present day Li-ion batteries. Toyota is also working on increasing the efficiency of its hybrid vehicles by 10 percent. Toyota is hoping to mass produce electric vehicles in China as early as 2019. China is now the world's largest car market. However, for now the Chinese plants plan to use lithium-ion batteries.
Presidentt Kazuhiro Tsuga of Panasonic said: “We think the existing technology can still extend the energy density of Li-ion batteries by 20 percent to 30 percent. But there is a trade-off between energy density and safety. So if you look for even more density, you have to think about additional safety technology as well. Solid-state batteries are one answer.” Panasonic provides batteries for Tesla the electric vehicle manufacturer. Battery expert Nagaki Yabuchi of Tokyo Denki University said that the density of Li-ion batteries can be increased by using a nickel-based material for cathodes but he expected the limits of lithium-ion technology would be reached by around 2020. While Tesla has a huge laboratory for evaluating new battery technologies so far the company has said it sees no viable replacement for lithium-ion batteries at present. It may be some time before new battery technology is developed sufficiently to be commercially viable. However, research is going ahead full steam.
The co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery along with a team of engineers at the University of Texas, Cockrell School of Engineering, in Austin, has now developed all-solid-state battery cells that would be safer, faster charging, rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars, and storage. The batteries would last longer than lithium ion batteries as well. Goodenough, who is still working at the ripe old age of 94 said: “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.”