TOKYO-- Toyota is working on an electric car powered by a new type of battery that significantly increases driving range and reduces charging time, aiming to begin sales in 2022, a Japanese newspaper reported.
The car have an all-new platform. It will also use solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the Chunichi Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday, without citing sources.
Current EVs use lithium ion batteries that need 20-30 minutes to recharge even with fast chargers. They typically have a range of 300 km to 400 km (185 miles to 250 miles).
Toyota has decided to sell the new model in Japan as early as 2022, the paper said.
Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company would not comment on specific product plans but added that it aimed to commercialize all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s.
Toyota is looking to close the gap with EV leaders such as Nissan and Tesla as battery-powered cars gain traction around the globe as a viable emissions-free alternative to conventional cars.
Whether Toyota will be able to leapfrog its rivals remains to be seen, however, as mass production requires a far more stringent level of quality control and reliability.
"There's a pretty long distance between the lab bench and manufacturing," said CLSA auto analyst Christopher Richter. "2022 is ages away, and a lot can change in the meantime."
Having long touted hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids as the most sensible technology to make cars greener, Toyota last year said it wanted to add long-range EVs to its line-up. The automaker set up a new in-house unit, headed by President Akio Toyoda, to develop and market EVs.
Toyota is reportedly planning to begin mass-producing EVs in China, the world's biggest auto market, as early as in 2019, although that model would be based on the existing C-HR crossover and use lithium-ion batteries.
Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years.
Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes rather than liquid ones, making them safer than lithium ion batteries currently on the market.