The world’s number one car manufacturer, Toyota, and the Japanese energy company, Idemitsu Kosan, are teaming up on solid-state battery development. The two Japanese companies aim to reach commercialization by 2028.
Toyota is joining forces with Idemitsu Kosan to advance the development and production of solid-state batteries for its future electric cars. The collaboration focuses on sulfide solid electrolytes, which are evaluated as a promising material for achieving high capacity and performance for BEVs.
The cooperation is expected to run in three phases, from developing sulfide solid electrolytes to producing in a pilot plant and then large-scale production. Toyota is reportedly targeting commercialization of solid-state batteries between 2027 and 2028. Idemitsu Kosan had also agreed to cooperate with Umicore to develop high-performance materials for solid-state batteries last year.
The collaboration will be split into three phases, starting with the “Development of sulfide solid electrolytes and preparation for a large pilot facility”. This will be followed by larger-scale production at a pilot facility and culminating with the “Study of future full-scale mass production”.
“Idemitsu Kosan and Toyota Motor Corporation have agreed to collaborate on the mass production of solid-state batteries,” said Koji Sato, President and CEO of Toyota. “Specifically, our two companies will combine their separate efforts to mass-produce new materials and establish a supply chain for solid electrolytes, which hold the key to the commercialization of solid-state batteries.”
“First, between 2027 and 2028, we will start producing solid-state batteries for battery electric vehicles. We will then lay the foundation for mass production,” he added.
“We will help realize Toyota’s plan by offering our technology,” Idemitsu President Shunichi Kito said at the press conference. “Idemitsu plans to set up a pilot plant to mass-produce the material in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.”
Idemitsu has some previous experience in the field and states that “it has been developing production technologies of lithium sulfide, which is an intermediate material for solid electrolytes, using by-products that are generated in the course of petroleum refining”.
Additionally, Idemitsu has been attempting to reach mass production with technology on sulfide solid electrolytes, aiming to establish a stable supply system.
“We have more or less acquired (the necessary) technology to make them. We hope to go beyond that by taking on the difficult challenge of mass producing them,” Toyota President Koji Sato also said at a press conference. “We hope to realize innovation from Japan.”
The cooperation move also comes as domestic rivals, including Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., rush to develop solid-state batteries. The new battery will, for example, more than double the range of the current Japanese carmaker’s bZ4X EV, with charging reduced to around ten minutes, a third of the time required with current technology, Toyota said in June.
Toyota, until recently seen as reluctant to shift to EVs, has been ramping up its efforts to catch up with its global rivals in the area, such as Tesla and BYD. The Japanese automaker plans to sell 1,5 million EVs annually in 2026 and aims to increase that number to 3,5 million in 2030.