Toyota will unveil a vehicle powered by solid-state batteries at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a means of showcasing its battery capability, according to the firm’s Chief Technology Officer Shigeki Terashi.

Solid-state batteries promise the potential for longer driving range in smaller and potentially cheaper battery packs which can also charge faster. However, Toyota calculates that this technology will not reach mass production until the middle of the 2020s. Once it is ready for commercial application, the technology will be rolled out across the firm’s entire lineup of EVs, according to Terashi.

"We will produce a car with solid-state batteries and unveil it to you in 2020, but mass production with solid-state batteries will be a little later," said Shigeki Terashi, CTO at Toyota.

epalette toyota

Toyota is keen to showcase the technical know-how it has gained in battery technology at Tokyo Motor Show 2019.

“We will produce a car with solid state batteries and unveil it to you in 2020, but mass production with solid state batteries will be a little later,” said Terashi, who also highlighted the battery know-how Toyota has gained through its hybrid propulsion research with the Prius and Mirai.

While the solid-state BEV is expected to be a prototype that will participate in the Olympics’ opening or closing ceremony, a further 12 semi-autonomous electric vehicles running during the event will be using lithium-ion batteries.

Toyota’s timeline of putting solid-state battery technology into commercial production puts it way ahead of other players in the space. While Volkswagen has hinted at a similar timeline, BMW, another carmaker that has started researching into solid-state batteries has indicated it wouldn’t be selling EVs with solid-state batteries before 2030.

With an open platform like the e-Palette, possibilities of utilising the semi-autonomous vehicle for different purposes are endless.

Toyota had showcased the e-Palette autonomous platform for the Olympics. The prototype EV will build upon the e-Palette to exhibit how far the Japanese carmaker has come in battery technology. The e-Palette is also being offered to partners to use to demonstrate their own self-driving technologies.

Toyota is expected to bring an updated version of the e-Palette at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Shigeki Terashi also confirmed that Toyota expects to launch its first EV on a dedicated EV platform for sale in Europe by the end of 2023. Three electric vehicles will lead the onslaught before 2021 – an electric Lexus on an existing platform, along with electrified versions of the Proace and Proace City vans.