- Solid-State Batteries
- Automotive OEMs
Solid Power Takes Next Steps to Solid-State Batteries for EVs
Advances in battery technology continue to attract industry attention, particularly for EV applications. As EV manufacturers look to take more market share, increasing vehicle range for lower costs is a high priority as these factors open the market to a larger group of potential buyers. I have previously discussed the desire for new battery chemistries in the commercial vehicle space that may be better suited for their duty cycle.
This fall, I visited Solid Power, a solid-state battery (SSB) startup in Louisville, Colorado. The development of SSBs is sought after for many of its potential benefits over lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. Some of these potential benefits include significantly higher energy density, higher charging speeds, and improved safety and longevity.
Solid Power has made many headlines in the last year as it works toward the goal of commercializing SSBs. While SSBs have a wide variety of applications, Solid Power is focused initially on supplying EVs—of which many companies are interested in the rapidly growing industry. Guidehouse Insights forecasts light duty EV sales to grow from 1.8 million in 2019 to nearly 21 million in 2030.
Auto OEMs have begun investing in advanced battery technologies. Volkswagen has a $100 million investment in QuantumScape for its SSB technology. Earlier this year, Daimler led a $170 million series E investing round in Sila Nanotechnologies, which has developed a silicon-based anode (rather than graphite) to improve Li-ion battery efficiency. Toyota is developing a SSB for its own vehicle electrification plan, and recently partnered with Panasonic.
Solid Power Charges Ahead
While Solid Power has hit similar milestones as some other players in the space, the company is also making moves to separate itself from the pack. Solid Power has existing partnerships with automakers, including Ford Motor Company and BMW Group, and also closed its own funding rounds in the last year. In August 2019, the company announced it had moved onto the next phase of its SSB commercialization plan with the development of an in-house production facility as a proof of concept. Though the company intends for its batteries to be used in EVs, it already has contracts to fulfill for use of its batteries in the pharmaceutical, defense, and oil & gas sectors.
These investment and partnership trends are evidence of battery innovations moving quickly toward ambitious industry predictions on SSB disruption. The improved safety, energy density, and potential cost savings remain a target automakers and battery producers alike.