A tech company in the US has announced it is now producing 20 amp-hour (Ah) solid-state batteries for automotive applications.
Solid-state batteries are an important next-step for electric vehicles (EVs), improving safety, range, weight, and charging times, compared to more conventional lithium-ion batteries currently used.
The Colorado-based company Solid Power – which enjoys financial backing from BMW and Ford – says it is making the 20Ah, multi-layer solid-state batteries for EVs, as it works towards developing large-format manufacturing processes.
The lithium-ion batteries currently found in EVs use a semi-liquid construction, which can catch fire when overheated or punctured, forcing car makers to add cooling systems and 'armour' – adding weight and reducing the effective driving range of lithium-ion-powered cars.
Solid-state batteries, on the other hand, use more stable solid materials, as the name suggests. They work over a wider temperature range and are less susceptible to damage, as well as deliver a higher energy density, weigh less, and have a quicker charging time – overcoming many common criticisms of today's EV battery technology.
Solid Power says it expects to further improve the energy density of its solid-state batteries by 20 per cent by the year 2022.
Top: Solid Power's 22-layer, 20Ah all solid-state lithium metal cell next to its first-generation 10-layer, 2Ah cell. Above: Toyota's battery-electric vehicle concept, expected to be unveiled in production form in 2021. Bottom: Volkswagen's all-electric ID.4.
Toyota also made a major announcement in the past week, claiming it will introduce a solid-state battery in 2021 which will be capable of being fully recharged in only 10 minutes.
The Japanese car company had planned to demonstrate a fully-functional electric vehicle using the battery technology at the now-postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The first of Toyota's all-electric SUVs – based on the brand's e-TNGA architecture, and co-developed with Subaru – is expected to be unveiled in 2021, with a potential market launch in 2022 or 2023.
Earlier this month, Volkswagen-backed company QuantumScape said its solid-state batteries would be ready for production by 2024, claiming the tech will be suitable for environmental conditions down to -30 degrees celsius – far lower than its competitors.
With a number of governments around the world planning to ban sales of vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines by 2030, the onslaught of announcements regarding solid-state batteries suggests electrified vehicles could look a lot different by the end of this decade.