Toyota developing new batteries, wireless charging image

Toyota is developing next-generation batteries for its electric vehicles and wireless charging, Toyota U.S. boss Jim Lentz said today at the LA Auto Show.

Lentz didn’t offer many additional details, but said Toyota is developing these new technologies in-house and is not rushing to bring them on the road in the near future. “It is not important to be first, but to be best,” Lentz said about the new battery technology.

In terms of hybrid cars, Toyota is a world leader, with hybrids accounting for 14 percent of its lineup compared with the auto industry overall of 3.4 percent. Lentz said at the opening of the Los Angeles auto show that hybrids will continue to remain essential to the Toyota lineup.

However, he said he sees lithium ion batteries as transitional technology which is not capable of the breakthroughs in cost and greater density that are needed to make electric vehicles competitive. This is why Toyota is working on new technologies, one of them being wireless induction charging, which would allow EV users to recharge their cars without needing a plug.

“It is in development but not imminent in our vehicles, but we realize customers want vehicles that are convenient,” Lentz said.