Monday, December 18, 2017

BMW & Solid Power to Jointly Develop Solid-State Batteries for Electric Vehicles

Conventional Battery vs. Solid-State Battery (Credit: Solid Power) Click to Enlarge.
Monday, Solid Power announced The BMW Group is partnering with the company to jointly develop its solid-state batteries for use in BMW’s future electric vehicle models.  BMW will assist Solid Power to advance its technology to achieve performance levels demanded by its customers.

Seeno, Fisker, Dyson, and Toyota, among many others, are also working on solid-state battery innovations.  Toyota, for example, has stated that they hope to “commercialize them (solid-state batteries) by the early 2020s.”

Doug Campbell, the founder and CEO of Solid Power, couldn’t share an exact timeframe when BMW would bring one of its “xEVs” with solid-state battery packs to market, but offered that “We are confident we can field solid-state batteries in commercial vehicles within 5–10 years.”

Solid Power’s technology is based on combining an exceptionally high-capacity cathode with a high capacity lithium metal anode and in combination with a high ionic conductivity solid separator.  While traditional lithium ion batteries contain liquid electrolytes, Solid Power’s solid-state batteries are comprised of proprietary inorganic materials (sulfides) producing cells with higher energy density and without volatile or flammable components.

Campbell says that their batteries provide substantially higher energy than conventional lithium ion, as much as 2-3 times greater, while also enabling lower-cost systems due to the potential for eliminating many of the expensive safety features typically associated with lithium-ion systems.  Two of Solid Power’s key strengths and competitive advantages are in the solid materials they use and their ability to do roll-to-roll coating in house, according to Campbell.

Battery packs are estimated to comprise as much as 25% of the cost of a BEV, and while current Li-ion batteries continue to decline in cost each year, a breakthrough in cost and range would be a game changer for EVs.  Incremental improvements in Li-ion batteries, primarily through manufacturing scale and process improvements, will continue to drive prices down each year, but likely at a slower rate in the future.

The main problem with solid-state battery technology (and other emerging types of battery chemistries), is that it is still several years away from being commercially available in electric vehicles.  However, research firm IDTechEx forecasts the market for solid-state batteries, across all devices, not just electric vehicles, to be $7 billion between 2017–2027.

Read more at BMW & Solid Power to Jointly Develop Solid-State Batteries for Electric Vehicles

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