Mercedes has launched a new electric bus with the option of a solid state battery pack offering greater range but no fast charging.
The idea of solid state batteries as the Holy Grail for EVs, with a higher energy density, very rapid charging and lower cost, has been a goal for car makers for a decade.
Toyota looked to be ahead of the pack with its decade-long research on solid-state batteries, and the promise that it would reveal a car with solid state batteries at this year’s (Covid-cancelled) Olympics. But with the Olympics cancelled Toyota seems to have ditched its plans to reveal its solid state battery EV too.
But now, seemingly out of nowhere, along comes Daimler with the first production vehicle with solid state batteries – and it’s the eCitaro bus.
Mercedes seem to have managed greater energy density with their solid state battery pack – some 25 per cent higher than the lithium-ion option – but aren’t prepared for it to fast charge, although it is cobalt-free. In fact, if you are a bus buyer and want the fastest charging you’ll need to opt for the lithium ion battery option.
But Mercedes are happy to declare the solid state batteries last longer, warranting them for 10 years or 280MWh energy throughput.
It’s a very low-key reveal for what promises to be ground-breaking battery technology. How odd.