Toyota to focus on new renewable energy systems to replace lithium-ion batteries

Toyota to focus on new renewable energy systems to replace lithium-ion batteries

March 20, 2013 0 By Tami Hood

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Toyota Renewable Energy

Toyota continues to show strong interest in renewable energy

Lithium-ion batteries have been losing favor with much of the auto industry due to the lackluster sales of electric vehicles in recent years. Toyota, however, still has high hopes for these renewable energy systems, especially when it comes to transportation. Beyond electric vehicles, Toyota has avoided lithium-ion batteries because of how expensive they are, claiming that these energy systems are simply not viable for any large scale use. The automaker does have some ambitious plans for lithium-ion batteries in the future, however, that aim to change the very nature of these renewable energy systems.

Automaker sets sights on new batteries

By 2020, Toyota plans to be using solid-state and lithium-air batteries in electric vehicles. These are expected to be new forms of lithium-ion batteries that are significantly more capable than current models. Toyota has set its sights on these renewable energy systems because it believes electric vehicles will, eventually, dominate the world of transportation. Traditional lithium-ion batteries are not capable of bringing this belief into reality, but solid-state and lithium-air batteries may be able to accomplish Toyota’s renewable energy ambitions.

New batteries could make electric vehicles more attractive

There are many forms of lithium-ion batteries that exist today, such as lithium-cobalt batteries, but none meet the standards that Toyota has for the future of transportation. The automaker plans to continue using such batteries for its current range of electric vehicles, including the Prius, but will eventually transition away from these batteries in favor of more accommodating renewable energy systems. Toyota expects that solid-state and lithium-air batteries will help make electric vehicles more affordable because the energy systems themselves and inexpensive, while also increasing the performance of electric vehicles.

Toyota has tentative plans for hydrogen fuel

Toyota is not only interested in batteries for the future of transportation. The automaker has been showing some support for hydrogen fuel cells in recent months. Toyota’s use of hydrogen fuel has, thus far, been outside of the realm of transportation, but the automaker has been developing a hydrogen-powered vehicle through its Lexus subsidiary. For now, Toyota is focused on battery electrics, but that may change as the automaker discovers better forms of renewable energy that could meet its clean transportation goals.