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BMW winning race to solid state battery electric car in 2022

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty


BMW is part of a $130m investment round that will see production solid state batteries for electric cars next year.

The round, with Ford and Volta Energy Technologies, is the second major round for Solid Power in Colorado. Solid Power is already producing a 20Ah solid state lithium ion battery cell on a high volume roll-to-roll pilot line with industry standard equipment from its Series A round of funding. This Series B round investment will expand the line for full production.

“Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles.”

The 20Ah cells were validated by both the BMW Group and Ford late last year and both will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “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.”

“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. 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,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence– important partners like Solid Power share our vision of a zero-emission mobility.”

“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability. After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations.

“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.”

This puts BMW ahead of Volkswagen, which is investing in another US solid state battery startup, QuantumScape, as well as Daimler, which is working with Hydro-Québec in Canada on the technology for high volume electric cars. Hydro-Québec and Bolloré in France use the same basic technology which has been used by Daimler in electric bus systems.

“The transformation from Li-ion to solid-state batteries is not going to happen overnight,” said Karim Zaghib, General Manager of Hydro-Québec’s centre of excellence in transportation electrification and energy storage. “Despite the first generation of Lithium-Metal Polymer solid state batteries with moderate energy density, further solid-state solutions aren’t production ready yet but are worth to work on further as they have some vital advantages.  Currently we are working on ceramic solution,” he added.

General Motors is backing its own Ultium battery technology for solid state packs, while Foxconn also sees solid state battery packs by 2024. BYD in China is also working on the technology while Hyundai has teamed up with another US startup Ioniq. Stellantis, the European car giant that combines Peugeot-Citroen, Fiat and Chrysler, is expected to give more details of its solid state battery plans at its Battery Day in July. 

www.solidpower.com

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