Toyota Motor Corp. has announced plans to roll out a new line of solid-state batteries that will give its electric vehicles (EVs) a longer range and trim production costs.
The June 13 news, which comes a day before the Japanese automaker’s annual shareholders’ meeting, introduces several technologies that aim to boost EV performance and sales. The company—criticized for moving slowly to launch battery-powered cars—said it expects to sell 1.5 million EVs annually by 2026.
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The promise of updated technology and a renewed commitment to the energy transition sent the price of Toyota stock up as much as 6.5%.
Despite this positive announcement, the automaker is expected to face increased scrutiny from investors at the annual meeting, including a shareholder proposal for a company-wide audit to see how its climate-related lobbying aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Toyota’s board of directors advised shareholders to vote against that proposal.
Quotable: Toyota’s climate goalsOne of our goals is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, aiming to reduce average CO2 emissions for vehicles we sell worldwide by 50% or more by 2035 compared to 2019. Taking into account local conditions, we will harness the variety of electric vehicle options we have, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs), to steadily promote global decarbonization. —Akio Toyoda, Toyota president, in a letter to shareholders ahead of the annual meeting
What technological improvements did Toyota announce?Batteries: The biggest story out of Toyota’s announcement is the introduction of solid-state batteries. A potentially revolutionary technology, these batteries are energy-dense, reducing costs for the consumer by lasting longer than earlier versions. The company aims to sell vehicles with solid-state batteries by 2027 or 2028. In the meantime, Toyota plans to roll out a range of lithium-ion phosphate batteries by 2026 that can shrink production costs by 20% and increase driving range by 40%.
Hydrogen: The company is going all in on hydrogen as an energy source, launching a new division that will spearhead integration of the technology and enshrine Toyota’s commitment to a “hydrogen society.” Hydrogen power is still prohibitively expensive, so the unit’s main goals are to establish relationships with corporate partners and invest in research and development.
Assembly lines: Toyota announced it would start using Giga casting, a new form of assembly-line automation that was introduced to the market by rival EV maker Tesla. It replaces the traditional method of building separate components on a conveyor belt with a technology that propels the entire car, shaped out of aluminum, through the assembly line. This change could cut factory investment by half, Toyota estimates.
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