Toyota and Idemitsu tie up to mass-produce all-solid-state batteries

Toyota and oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan announced a tie up on Thursday to develop and mass produce all-solid-state batteries, in another example of new partnerships being forged amid the disruptive shift to electric vehicles.

The companies aim to commercialise next-generation batteries in 2027-28, followed by full-scale mass production. Toyota has said it planned to introduce the batteries, which would drastically improve the driving range of EVs, as part of a strategic pivot to EVs announced in June.

Toyota is now looking to make up for ground lost to Tesla and Chinese rivals such as BYD in the EV race. It has said it found a “technological breakthrough” that addresses durability problems in solid-state batteries and said it is developing means to mass produce them.

Idemitsu Kosan, Japan’s second-largest oil refiner, has been developing solid sulfide electrolyte, a material used in the batteries. “By bringing together the material development technologies of both companies, Idemitsu’s material manufacturing technology, and Toyota’s battery mass production technology, we will engage in full-scale mass production of all-solid-state batteries,” Toyota CEO Koji Sato told a news conference.

Solid-state batteries can hold more energy than current liquid electrolyte batteries and automakers and analysts expect them to speed transition to EVs.

An EV powered by a solid-state battery would have a range of 1,200 km (746 miles) and charging time of just 10 minutes, according to Toyota.

Still, such batteries are expensive and likely to remain so for years. Idemitsu has been expanding into EV battery supply chains, increasing its stake in Australian lithium developer Delta Lithium (DLI.AX) to 15% earlier this year amid a global push by automakers to electrify their fleets.

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