Ford and BMW have invested almost £100 million in Solid-State battery maker Solid Power in a drive to get the technology to market.
Just about every car maker on the planet is busy trying to roll out a range of electric cars they hope will match buyers’ expectations with the legislation-led drive to turf us all out of our ICE addiction. And, to some degree, they’re succeeding.
But look at any survey about prospective EV buyers’ caution and you see a similar theme: too expensive, insufficient range and too long to ‘refuel’.
The whole range anxiety thing is a bit of a nonsense now EVs are commonly coming with 250 miles of range, but the flaky recharging hotchpotch network is a turn-off for anything outside local trips for many, which probably won’t be solved until every BP and Shell up and down the country can recharge your car in 10 minutes max.
But the negatives of moving in to an EV could be solved if we had batteries which were cheaper, of higher density and took less time to charge. That, potentially, is what Solid-State batteries will offer when they do finally arrive for a production EV.
Toyota appears to be winning the race to put Solid-State batteries in cars (we’ve been following Toyota’s solid-state battery adventure for more almost a decade) and more recently we’ve seen VW investing in Solid-state battery firm QuantumScape, BMW investing in solid-state startup Solid Power, Dyson looking to deliver solid-state batteries and Toyota joining forces with Panasonic to move solid-state batteries to production.
Now BMW is upping its stake in Solid Power, and Ford joins in to be an equal partner with Volta Energy Technologies too, with a new, near £100 million, investment to drive the project to fruition.
Solid Power is already producing 20Ah solid-state batteries, and Ford and BMW will get 100Ah cells for testing next year.
Ford’s Ted Miller said:
By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.
BMW’s Frank Weber said:
Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for the BMW Group. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power. Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field
And Volta Energy’s Jeff Chamberlain said:
The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment. The company’s partnership with BMW and Ford will further accelerate the full commercialization of Solid Power’s batteries and position both car companies to be among the first to have EVs on the road powered by safer, affordable, high-energy solid-state batteries.
The EV future now looks certain to be underpinned by solid-state batteries.