Toyota is going through a bit of a Kodak moment right now, being that like the film giant they absolutely blundered the adoption of a revolutionary technology. In Kodak’s case it was the adoption of the digital camera which they nearly completely ignored; Toyota is now becoming similarly infamous for refusing to take part in the electric car boom, instead placing all of their faith in hybrid drivetrains and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. Whether or not Toyota can wake up in time to avoid a complete Kodak-style collapse remains to be seen, but they have been making some amazing claims about battery technology that is at least raising some eyebrows.
What Toyota are claiming is that they have a new solid-state battery, one that has a much higher energy density than current mass-produced batteries, and perhaps one that will go into their fleet of electric vehicles (whenever they start making them). Of course they haven’t released any information about these batteries which might verify these claims, and even if they do have a revolutionary technology there’s no guarantee that they will be able to scale it up, or that other EV manufacturers don’t make similar gains in between the present and the murky and uncertain future where Toyota is actually selling electric vehicles.
There are also claims that Toyota hasn’t completely dropped its interest in hydrogen, a technology which not only relies on a hydrogen-powered drivetrain to be adoped in the vehicles themselves but is also completely dependent on a currently non-existent hydrogen infrastructure. The electric grid already exists for moving energy around, and banking on hydrogen to do that instead seems a little bit like Toyota is falling for the sunk cost fallacy. But hopefully the interest in solid-state batteries is a sign that Toyota is finally starting to get with the EV times.