Solid Power’s 22-layer, 20Ah solid-state lithium metal cell, compared to the company’s first generation 10-layer, 2Ah cell.
solid strengtha Colorado-based battery powered by BMW And the Ford Motorsaid it has begun trial production of an innovative solid-state battery cell that promises to give electric vehicle owners greater range and shorter recharge times at a lower cost.
Solid state batteries are called because they get rid of the liquid or gel electrolyte found in current lithium-ion batteries. In electric vehicles, they have the potential to offer greater range, shorter recharge times and less fire risk than lithium-ion batteries — all compelling benefits that have attracted significant investment from automakers over the past several years.
But a solid-state battery design that can withstand years of use in an electric vehicle — and can be mass-produced at reasonable cost — has eluded researchers for decades. This is expected to change within two years.
Solid Power’s efforts are one of several ongoing efforts aimed at bringing solid-state battery cells to market for use in electric vehicles. Its competitors range from public companies such as Quantumscape For private efforts funded by giants such as Toyota.
Solid Power’s advantage may be unique: While at least some competitors’ designs will require expensive specialized factories, Solid Power said its batteries can be produced using tools and processes already in place in existing factories that make lithium-ion battery cells.
Solid Power’s pilot production line will produce batteries in small numbers for internal testing, as it improves battery design and fine-tunes its manufacturing approach.
The company expects to begin shipping batteries to its car partners, BMW and Ford, for testing in vehicle prototypes by the end of this year, CEO Doug Campbell said — a major step in the “verification” process needed to supply batteries to automakers on a large scale.
Campbell told CNBC that if all goes well, he expects automakers to sign off on the Solid Power battery design sometime in the first half of 2024.
The company will then hand over its design to an existing battery maker for mass production, suggesting that the first vehicles using the innovative Solid Power batteries could be available within a few years.