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Toyota is reportedly preparing to launch an electric vehicle in 2022 with solid state batteries, which would take only a few minutes to recharge.

A report in Chunichi Shimbun claims the Japanese giant hopes to be the first automaker to hit the market with an EV featuring the new battery technology.

Solid state batteries use solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, which is used in today’s batteries.

If these new batteries can be produced cheaply enough, they could push electric vehicles into the mainstream with recharge times claimed to be just a few minutes, an energy density twice that of current lithium-ion technology, and greatly improved crash safety properties.

Lithium-ion batteries, currently used on many hybrids and all pure electric vehicles, take several hours to recharge. Even with fast charging equipment, recharging still requires at least 20 to 30 minutes.

Toyota has reportedly been researching solid state batteries for years, and German automakers BMW and Volkswagen are understood to also be working on the technology.

Last year Toyota and its research partners, including the Tokyo Institute of Technology, announced they had found a material suitable for use as a solid electrolyte. Despite that, the technology is still a long way from mass production.

The Japanese automaker is currently working on a new EV based on the C-HR crossover for China. This model will feature existing lithium-ion battery technology.

Despite being the world leader in hybrid vehicles, the company has yet to make a big push into the EV arena, preferring to concentrate instead on plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells.

The company changed tack late last year, with Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, now leading a new department focussed on developing pure electric vehicles.

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