BMW’s Strategic Partner Toyota to Release Solid State Batteries That Recharge in Minutes

The problem with most electric cars isn’t the range, it’s the time it takes to charge the batteries. Toyota, BMW’s technical partner in hybrid technology, is aiming to solve that problem with new solid state battery technology.

According to Reuters (and Chunichi Shimbun Daily) Toyota is set to employ solid state battery technology that, coupled with an all-new platform, will allow for a full recharge in just a fe miniutes.

Currently most EVs (which use Lithium Ion batteries) need 30-60 minutes to recharge fully on the fastest chargers available. Our recent experience with the BMW i3 was similar – almost an hour to charge on the fastest charger available.

If true this could represent a giant leap in electric car experience.

What does this mean for MINI and BMW? Given that Toyota is a current technical partner it’s conceivable that there could be some type of technology sharing under a new collaboration agreement. It’s also interesting to note that MINI executives have made mention of a new battery technology coming online in 2019 which will allow for a much better charger experience a reality. Could this be solid state batteries? We’ll know soon.

  • Greg

    Well I doubt they will use these specific batteries in the new 2019 MINI E if they are planning to “commercialize the new batteries by the early 2020s”. Maybe they’ll put it in its LCI in 2023.

    Charging time is already not too bad with current tech:

    The Tesla Model S and their Supercharger network has 145kW DC chargers limited by Tesla to 120kW: Just having that level of charging for the next MINI could be qualified as “charging in minutes”.

    • Greg

      Batteries are usually charged to 80% at full speed and then the last 20% takes about the same amount of time.

      Calculating the equivalent of a fill to 80% of a 60kWh battery (48kWh), means that it takes about 24 minutes with a Tesla Supercharger (120kW), any improvement on that becomes bearable for almost everyone.

      I wouldn’t mind a 240kW charger that fills up to 80% in 12 minutes for my next MINI. It’s 10 times longer to fill up than a gas pump but it’s not long enough that anyone could complain! And even then it’d only be for long distances, the rest of the time I’d slow-charge it at home.

  • Nick Dawson

    Despite its tie-up with Toyota on technology development, BMW does not expect to use solid-state batteries in its production models until at least 2026. The batteries will use lithium ion technology but swap liquid electrolytes for solid ones, with initial targets being for a 15-20% increase in capacity.

    Other benefits include less weight and a reduction in the amount of safety protection needed due to the reduced fire risk. The batteries are currently ten years away from production, with long-term durability testing cited as a key reason for the delay.

    Meanwhile, the next development in the refinement of BMW’s existing battery technology will arrive in 2018 in time for the launch of the MINI E – or MINI Cooper E to give its correct title – and the all-electric version of the next-generation BMW X3.

    However, BMW will continue to develop its internal combustion engine technology, which is predicted to remain the most popular power source for its models until at least the end of the next decade, but increasingly in combination with Hybrid technology.