Toyota has revealed plans to spend as much as USD 35 million on research into batteries for electric vehicles. The amount would be disbursed as grants to universities with which the company has partnerships. These include renowned research institutions like Stanford.
Brian Storey, program manager for the Toyota research Institute said that as part of the projects, the universities will use artificial intelligence to work further on different combinations of battery chemistry and to test other materials like magnesium, which could possibly be used to make better batteries.
Currently, Today’s hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles use powered by lithium ion batteries, a technology that was developed four decades ago and the search has now begun for alternatives that could be more efficient as these batteries are highly expensive and have range limitations. As an outcome of these range limitations, electric and hybrid vehicles are not as popular as those using fossil fuels, though these vehicles are more efficient
Toyota will work with its university partners to investigate new designs for batteries, new techniques of combining battery chemistry and alternative materials that could be used for batteries. The use of artificial intelligence could help narrow down the list of options, according to Storey
The initial list of university partners include MIT, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, the University of Connecticut, MIT, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the British-based materials science company Ilika. Additional research partners are likely to be added soon to the program.
The focus of the researchers will be on following parallel paths to identify new materials that could be used in batteries as well as the development of tools and techniques that can expedite the design and development of new materials more broadly.
Toyota had set up the Toyota Research Institute in 2015 to conduct research into auto safety for autonomous cars, increase access to mobility for those who otherwise cannot drive and help translate outdoor mobility technology into products for indoor mobility.
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