The Nikkei [sub] claims that Toyota has done the groundwork for a new battery that could “potentially more than double the driving range of electric vehicles,” possibly up to 1,000 km (620 miles). And it’s even cheaper.
Toyota’s new battery uses a sodium-based chemical compound as the positive electrode in a sodium ion battery. The battery produces a voltage that is 30 percent higher than that of lithium-ion batteries. Once commercialized, prices of the battery will likely be lower than those of conventional lithium-ion batteries, says the report.
Further testing is needed before the new technology is ready for prime time. “We may be able to extend EV mileage considerably,” the Nikkei cites a Toyota official. “We may also be able to achieve a driving range of between 500km and 1,000km.”
Sodium is the sixth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, Wikipedia says. Half of the world’s salt consists of sodium. Toyota thinks that the new sodium battery could be commercially available by 2020, if all goes well.
Just a few months ago, Toyota’s vice chairman and R&D chief Takeshi Uchiyamada was outspokenly skeptic about the viability of EVs:
“The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”
If the new battery lives up to its promise, two out of three would not be bad.
It is midnight in Tokyo. We’ll try tomorrow to get more.