Honda vs. Toyota

Honda vs. Toyota

How Honda Is Competing With Toyota’s 745-mile SSB In The Race To Perfect Solid-State Batteries

Story by Noah Staats •3d

  • Honda believes that current lithium-ion battery technology is not a sustainable long-term solution and is investing in solid-state batteries to overcome its challenges.
  • Honda has developed unique ideas, such as using polymer fabric, to combat dendrite formation in solid-state batteries, demonstrating its innovation and commitment to improving EV technology.
  • Honda aims to mass produce solid-state batteries and release EVs using this technology by the latter half of the decade, competing with Toyota’s plans in the solid-state battery market.

The race to perfect solid-state batteries has taken center stage in the rapidly evolving landscape of electric vehicles (EVs). Honda and Toyota, two automotive giants known for innovation and reliability, are leading the charge with their distinctive approaches to this game-changing technology.

Honda has recently ventured into the solid-state battery realm, boldly stating that the current battery technology is not a sustainable long-term solution. Critiques of lithium-ion batteries include their weight, dependence on rare earth minerals, rapid degradation, and environmental impact. Honda is banking on solid-state batteries to overcome these challenges. In a recent interview with TheDrive, Dave Gardner, Honda’s Vice President of Business and Sales, emphasized their conviction that lithium-ion technology falls short of meeting future needs.

Solid-state batteries, the object of Honda’s pursuit, offer the promise of reduced size, weight, and material usage, along with heightened energy density, rapid charging capabilities, and extended lifespan. To advance this endeavor, Honda invested a significant $310 million in a cutting-edge solid-state battery production line dedicated to testing the technology and its manufacturing process. However, Toyota unveiled a breakthrough that could lead to solid-state batteries capable of an astounding 745 miles on a single charge, with aspirations to push that figure to a remarkable 900 miles. This advancement hinges on the development of solid-state batteries.

Related: What Nobody Is Telling You About Solid-State Batteries

How Honda Plans To Beat Toyota At Its Own Game

Of course, it’s no surprise that every automaker is after the newest, most powerful EV tech. However, in recent years, it’s been widely reported that Toyota is focusing heavily on solid-state batteries for future releases, as well as extended ranges for its cars that could shift the needle in its direction from a consumer standpoint. Honda, another dominating force in the industry, has noticed Toyota going full-send into solid-state batteries and has been making strides to beat them at their own game.

Specifically, Honda announced an investment of $310 million in a cutting-edge solid-state battery production line dedicated to testing the technology and its manufacturing process. This new testing site for solid-state technology will begin the dawn of those types of battery packs being added to future electric Honda vehicles. It’s also worth noting that unlike Toyota (publicly), Honda figured out a way to combat one of the solid-state batteries’ largest oppositions: dendrites.

Dendrites essentially form on solid-state batteries after continued use and charging, leading to them degrading faster than we’d like. Because solid-state batteries rely on solid-not-liquid internal components, dendrites can prove catastrophic for their lifespan and safety. However, through design altering, Honda devised an idea to use polymer fabric between the electrolyte and the positive/negative electrodes: ultimately stopping dendrite formation.

That is only one of the unique ideas the brand has added to this relatively new EV technology, so we’re impressed with the Japanese carmaker as of now.

Related: 10 Things To Know About Toyota’s 745-mile Solid-state Battery

Honda, Although Late To The Party, Could End Up Changing The Game

Although Honda has faced criticism for its lackluster EV development and marketing, the company might have been staying quiet for a good reason. After all, Honda could be on the brink of something record-breaking with their recent investments in solid-state batteries and factories to build new super-power EVs. Of course, Toyota, on the other hand, has been a dominating force within the hybrid space for many years, with its iconic Prius making the way we see ‘eco-friendly driving’ more mainstream and affordable.

Toyota’s vision of achieving nearly 900 miles of range and 10-minute charging could reshape consumer expectations, which Honda must get ahead of. We’re seeing the shift from fuel to electricity in massive numbers, which causes intense competition from all sides of the aisle. Honda isn’t seen as a dominating force within the electric sector, while Toyota has boasted significant improvements in its tech and sales over the past five years.

What Honda is doing by perfecting solid-state batteries could shift the public’s opinion and even attract potential collaborators from within the auto industry. What’s also very interesting is that Toyota has partnered with various battery providers in its solid-state research, while Honda remains independent. According to a press release from the company, Honda claims its research is self-funded and self-done: something that could be an advantage.

Honda Could Be A Sleeping Giant Within The Solid-State Market

  • Honda continues to quietly develop its batteries, with hopes to mass produce them by 2025-2030.
  • Even brands like Tesla have been slow to embrace this type of EV manufacturing.

Interestingly enough, reading through Honda’s various press releases and tidbits regarding solid-state batteries, we immediately notice the brands’ apparent goal of manufacturing these battery packs at a mass scale. Since this has never been done before, Honda has its eyes on something much larger than a new EV fleet: instead, a systematic change in how they are created. You’d think this would be Tesla pioneering solid-state battery technology (they’re lukewarm on the concept), but Honda has decided to step in and take charge.

Although doing the same thing, Toyota hasn’t been as abrupt in its plans to bring these batteries to market on a mass, global scale. However, that’s not to assume they can’t or won’t try it. After all, we’re sure Honda and Toyota reps keep close tabs on what the other says in press releases or public/private statements. Considering Toyota has its sights on a 2027 solid-state battery rollout, Honda appears to be aiming for something similarly timed. That said, there aren’t many vehicles considering this; nonetheless, entire brands, such as Toyota and Honda, may want to join forces to make a splash.

Toyota has teamed up with battery company Panasonic, which could be a blow to Honda’s efforts in getting these batteries out at large scale before the end of the decade. Furthermore, a Toyota press release states that the company has been working on solid-state tech since 2012, filing 1,000 solid-state battery patents.

Honda Could Add Solid-State Batteries To Its Cars By 2030

  • Toyota and Honda plan to release EVs using solid-state batteries by the latter half of this decade.

One thing to be aware of is that Honda isn’t blowing smoke into the air but rather actively planning a solid-state fleet of super EVs. Reportedly, the company has a goal to get these vehicles to customers before the end of the 2020s, dramatically changing the landscape of electric vehicles and manufacturing. Because of bumps in the road while creating and perfecting this battery technology, Honda has continued its vision and adapted quickly to adversity.

In the second half of this decade (2025-2030), Honda *ideally* wants these cars to be on the roads. They’d likely launch in North America and Asia first, then send these off everywhere else willing to sell them. After all, when a brand goes all-in: they want a massive return on investment. This is no different for Honda, Toyota, or anyone else adapting to solid-state tech, so it will certainly be interesting to see quarterly production and income reports come 2025.

It could also be in Honda’s best interest to figure out a proprietary method of constructing its solid-state battery packs to compete with Toyota’s endless list of patents. The company hasn’t been very patent-heavy thus far, but who knows: it could all be strategic.