Toyota will invest about $13.6 billion (approximately 11.5 billion euros) in technology in its next batteries, including a $9 billion investment in production as it tries to move its vehicle lineup to electric. Toyota plans to have 10 battery production lines by the end of 2025, increasing to around 70. Toyota could eventually produce up to 200 GWh of batteries, announced the company’s chief technology officer, Masahiko Maeda.
Toyota’s commitments reflect similar investments planned by other companies in the auto industry. Volkwagen plans to produce around 240 GWh of batteries in Europe alone by 2030, while Ford has said it plans to produce 240 GWh.
This represents a huge investment by Toyota and it appears that the world’s largest carmaker is taking electrification of its entire line more seriously. While the company was one of the first leaders in gas-electric hybrid cars with the Prius, Toyota had seen hybrids as an interim measure until hydrogen fuel cells became competitive.
Earlier this year, Toyota announced an electric vehicle strategy that will lead to the launch of 70 electric cars by 2025, including 15 all-electric vehicles, as well as hybrids and hydrogen-powered models.
As part of its strategy, Toyota has announced the BZ4X electric SUV concept, which it expects to launch in China and Japan later this year. By 2030, the company wants about 80% of its cars to have some kind of battery.
Toyota expects its investments to help reduce the cost of batteries by about 30%, thanks to improvements in materials and cell design. It also intends to develop cars that use batteries more efficiently, resulting in savings of 30% less energy consumed per kilometer. “Through this integrated vehicle and battery development, we aim to reduce battery cost by 50% compared to the Toyota BZ4X,” said Maeda.
The company is also continuing its work on solid-state batteries, which could eventually lead to more compact, safer and faster charging cells, Reuters notes. Toyota hopes to start making these same batteries in the middle of the decade, but admits there is still research to be done to improve the cost and lifespan of the technology.