Yesterday, we told you about that miracle battery, Toyota allegedly has developed. The Nikkei [sub] said it will double the range of an EV. The Tokyo wire quoted researchers as saying that they “may also be able to achieve a driving range of between 500km and 1,000km” (310 to 620 miles), You possibly noticed the skeptical tone when we reported on the report . As it turns out, the Nikkei was a bit – exuberant.
Checking in with Toyota this morning, we learn that Toyota’s researchers indeed have a new Sodium-Ion battery technology. However, research into this technology is in its very, very early stages.
A group of Toyota researchers (M. Nose, H. Nakayama, K. Nobuhara, S. Nakanishi, and H. Iba) presented a paper titled “Novel Cathode Materials of Sodium-Containing Metal Phosphates as Highly Voltage Sodium-Ion Batteries” at a symposium in Honolulu. After two of the researchers, Nakanishi-san, and Iba-san were interviewed by the Nikkei, some finer, but crucial points were either misunderstood or lost in translation.
Instead of targeting 2020 as the date of commercial release of the battery, the researchers think that commercialization can take anywhere between 10 to 20 years – if commercialization indeed turns out to be viable.
The researchers confirm that the new battery has the potential to extend driving range. However, they did not say, “We may also be able to achieve a driving range of between 500km and 1,000km.” What they said was that to be commercially viable, a next-generation battery should give an EV that range or one exceeding it. With that in mind, they are pushing forward with their research.
Bottom line: Take that sodium story with a big grain of salt.