The Japanese automaker is a huge proponent of hybrids and fuel cell cars – not battery electrics. Yet the company is the one that has observed a phenomenon that limits range and battery life in EVs.
Toyota is on the verge of making a potentially major breakthrough in battery technology – claiming it will then be able to develop longer range hybrids and EVs, as well as improving battery life. Today most of the hybrids and electric vehicles (as well as our mobile devices), use lithium-ion batteries. While the lithium ions are much more efficient than other substances, they also have an issue called “deviation” – which makes them move unevenly and clumping – with impact on range and reducing battery life. The phenomenon is well known but no one observed it – until now.
Toyota’s research included teams from a publicly-funded laboratory and four universities in Japan and the scientists managed to observe and analyze ion deviation. “Lithium-ion battery is a key technology for electrifying cars, and there is a clear need, going forward for improving this technology and its performance even more,” commented Hisao Yamashige, a researcher at Toyota. The company now thinks that after learning all the lessons it will be able to improve both range and battery life by up to 15 percent.