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Tesla LFP Vs. Toyota Solid-State, Is There A Clear Winner?

When it comes to battery technology, Toyota and Tesla are two companies I keep my eye on. With the announcement of LFP for Tesla and Solid-state for Toyota, is there a clear winner? Here is what I think.

My biggest holdback with any battery technology is that it quickly gets outdated. My phone, for example, is still good, but the new ones are even better. Battery technology is constantly evolving and at a relatively rapid pace.

Tesla Motors is at the forefront of EVs, and some believe their battery tech is ahead of its time. Tesla is making great strides in LFP or LiFePo (Lithium Iron Phosphate); I wonder why they are not pursuing solid-state battery tech.

In this particular battle of batteries, I want to look at each bit of tech and see if one is better than the other. My goal is to bring the strengths of each to the front and show any weaknesses that could hinder further development.

LFP vs Solid-State
LFP is an excellent bit of battery technology. It is light, very safe, and is incredibly durable. LFP battery tech is being used by my 2008 Toyota Prius right now, and I reap the benefits from it. Check out that story here.

LFP does have a downside in that it is less energy-dense than solid-state. That is a bummer, primarily for Tesla, who could be trying to switch over to LFP, so their cars stop catching fire when they wreck.

So would less energy-dense batteries mean fewer drivable miles? Possibly.

But what about solid-state? It has magnificent energy density, charges quickly, and is very light. It is a safe technology showing similar results of safety as LFP. Seems like a winner, right? Well, kind of.

Solid-state tech is undoubtedly something to brag about. Still, it is too bad that commercial viability is non-existent. Reproducing this tech is proving to be incredibly hard, but that is not the only thing holding it back.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Red image source Tesla Motors

Solid-state, due to its density and rigidness, can also thermally crack when cycled repeatedly. A Solid-state battery has a shorter life cycle, but that is not all bad.

If you put numbers behind it, solid-state is still a viable bit of tech. For example, if a car gets built that can go 250 miles on a single charge, and that battery pack can cycle 1,000 times, you get 250,000 miles of use. Pretty sweet, and Toyota knows this.

With the BZ4X concept right around the corner, Toyota has announced its first EV to have a range of 250 miles per charge. That is fascinating information; the question is, what battery tech are they going to use?

LFP is a superior technology. It does charge slower, but it is very robust under all weather conditions. I know this because I am using this tech in my Prius. Thought further development of LFP is ongoing.

Solid-state, some say, is a total pipe dream and will never come to fruition. To you naysayers, I say poppycock, it will happen. If Elon Musk thinks we can go to mars, we can undoubtedly get solid-state to work.

Over the next 5 years, we will see what tech is the real supreme leader. For now, I hope that Toyota will give the EV they are building more than 250 miles of range, for heaven's sake.

That is all for today. I appreciate all of you out there. Remember, today's adventure is tomorrow's story.

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Image source: Courtesy of Toyota Pressroom
Image source: Courtesy of Tesla motors
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.