Despite being ahead of the curve with hybrids, Toyota has taken smaller steps towards the world of battery electric vehicles. That could be changing, however, with the company committing to spend $13.6 billion on battery technologies by the end of the decade. The company is investing not just in next-generation lithium cells, but also revolutionary solid-state battery technology. Toyota went so far as to give us a vanishingly short look at something special—a prototype vehicle actually running and driving with solid-state batteries.
The vehicle shown in the video appears to be a version of Toyota's LQ Concept, which first debuted at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show as an AI and self-driving demonstrator. Since then, it's had a starring role in a series of commercials for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Thus far, it was simply reported to be a "battery electric vehicle" however in this release, it bears a large decal announcing its "All-Solid-State" battery. Far from a static model, the prototype was filmed driving down the road under its own power.
Rumors of Toyota revealing a prototype vehicle with solid-state batteries first dropped in late 2020, according to contemporary reports from Nikkei Asia. In today's announcement, Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda revealed that Toyota first built the prototype in June last year, driving the vehicle on a test course to collect performance data. Speaking to The Drive, Toyota's Vice President of Mobility Communications Shiro Tachimoto stated that "Based on that data, we continued to make improvements, and in August last year, we obtained license plate registration for vehicles equipped with all-solid-state batteries and conducted test drives."