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Thursday, June 15, 2023

In Order To Catch Up In The EV Race, Toyota is Reinventing The Car Production Process

Toyota maybe late to the Battery Electric Vehicle game, but they’re catching up quick. The Japanese carmaker is doubling down on their multi-path way towards carbon neutrality, but now, they’re investing heavily on battery technology in a bid to claw back their perceived disadvantage versus other brands.

Announced during a technical briefing, Hiroki Nakajima, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer said that Toyota is investing in a so-called BEV Factory—an organization within the carmaker that’s dedicated to the development of battery electric vehicles.

Among developments in the field include EVs developed using a new “modular structure” that will cut the entire car manufacturing process in half. It will also allow Toyota to manufacture vehicles without the need of the conveyor belt system. There will also be increased component sharing across the line, while the use of giga casting—a metal stamping method pioneered by Tesla—to eliminate welds and reduce vehicle complexity.

Toyota calls its new assembly strategy, self-propelled production. This will have the car essentially drive itself to the parts, rather than bringing the parts to the car. It should slash the amount of investment because there will be no fixed conveyors or hangers hauling cars through the factory. Doing that will allow for more compact layouts and more flexible parts storage. 

In terms of battery technology itself, Toyota says they’ve made significant steps in increasing the range of their lithium-ion-powered vehicles. These new battery packs will deliver double the range compared to their current EV, the Toyota bZ4X, while costing 20 percent less. Furthermore, it will be able to charge from 10 to 80 percent in just 20 minutes. These will be expected to debut in 2026. A year later, Toyota will introduce bi-polar lithium iron phosphate batteries that will further reduce the cost by 40 percent compared to today. Bipolar batteries boost power density by combining anode and cathode terminals into the same current collector. Anodes and cathodes normally have their own collectors. Finally, by 2028, their first solid-state battery equipped vehicles will arrive. These will deliver more than 1,000 kilometers in a single charge.

These new developments mean Toyota expects to sell 3.5 million EVs annually by 2030. Out of this number, 1.7 million will be produced by the BEV Factory including large crossovers and SUVs, mid-sized crossovers, compact sedans and hatchbacks, large sedans and hatchbacks, and MPVs.

Among the first for its next-generation EVs will be a new large sedan under the Lexus brand. The sleek sedan is expected to debut by October’s Japan Mobility Show as a concept vehicle.

1 comment:

  1. Typical toyota, alwayz late in the game...but alwayz emerges as world champion (units sold)


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