In order to encourage the widespread adoption of electric-powered vehicles that use electricity as a power source (electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, etc.), Toyota is developing various key technologies for electric motorization.
Toyota has started research on next-generation batteries whose energy density greatly exceeds that of the lithium-ion batteries currently used for electric-powered vehicles. We are strengthening collaboration with outside research organizations and have been building collaborative structures for production technology since 2010. We are continuing our efforts and making steady progress towards practical application in the future.
Toyota is conducting wide-ranging development of next-generation batteries.
Toyota is developing all-solid-state batteries, a type of next-generation battery.
Making the batteries more compact enables them to be installed below the seats. This makes it possible to create a comfortable and roomy interior.
Power semiconductors play an important role in the operation of hybrid systems. Toyota is increasing their efficiency in order to improve fuel efficiency even further. We adopted silicon carbide (SiC) as a new material to take the place of silicon. We are conducting original development internally.
Power semiconductors use a lot of electric power, and electric power loss in hybrid vehicles can reach as much as 20%. Toyota aims to improve fuel efficiency by about 10% by developing and introducing SiC power semiconductors.
＊Fuel efficiency values based on JCO8 mode
Power semiconductors turn the flow of electricity to the power control unit on and off and control the direction of flow.
The power control unit is an important component that controls electric power in a hybrid system. The unit supplies electric power from the battery to the motor during operation and charges the battery by recovering electric power during deceleration.
Silicon carbide (SiC) is a compound of silicon (Si) and carbon (C). SiC combines silicon, which exhibits excellent performance as a semiconductor, with the hardness and heat resistant crystalline structure of diamond (carbon bonding).
When current ows through a power semiconductor, a portion of the electric power is lost as heat. SiC power semiconductors can reduce thermal loss compared to existing Si power semiconductors, contributing to higher fuel efficiency.
The wireless charging system allows the battery to be charged without connecting any cables. Tasks including retrieving, extending, coiling, and storing the cable can be eliminated, making electric vehicles, PHVs, and other similar vehicles even more convenient.
The wireless charging system makes it possible to charge the battery simply by parking the vehicle above a coil located on the ground. Electrical energy is converted to magnetic energy, which is transmitted from the coil on the ground to a coil in the vehicle, charging the battery.
To increase charging efficiency, Toyota developed a new parking support system that guides the driver to the optimal position. A function exclusive to the wireless charging system was added so that the intelligent parking assistance performs the needed steering operations when parking.
The optimal charging position is displayed on the navigation system screen. This makes it possible even for drivers who have difficulty pulling into a garage to park easily and enable charging.
When parking in a garage or parallel parking, the vehicle provides assistance for the necessary steering operations. When the shifter is put into “R”, the system recognizes the parking space and autonomously operates the steering wheel so that the vehicle goes straight into the parking space.
We are creating new systems and new methods of use to promote the widespread adoption of electric-powered vehicles. Toyota technological capabilities continue to advance.