Ford invests in next-gen solid-state battery startup

Ford invests in next-gen solid-state battery startup

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The partnership will focus on further developing its ‘all solid state batteries’ (ASSBs) for electric vehicles. The partnership will take advantage of Solid Power’s first fully automated, roll-to-roll production facility, which is anticipated to be fully operational in Q2 2019.

This follows Solid Power’s announcement in September of 2018 that it closed $20 million in a Series A investment round. Ford was part of a subsequent closing of that round, which included investors Volta Energy Technologies, Hyundai CRADLE, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Sanoh Industrial, Solvay Ventures and A123 Systems. In December of 2017, Solid Power announced its partnership with the BMW Group to jointly develop Solid Power’s solid-state batteries for electric vehicle applications and to tailor Solid Power’s technology toward automotive requirements for high-performance electric vehicles.

“Solid-state battery technology has the potential to help us deliver electric vehicles that are even safer and more capable,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering, and chief technology officer, Ford Motor Company. “Our involvement with Solid Power enables us to further collaborate in an important emerging technology that could truly transform the design and integration of smart electric vehicles into tomorrow’s smart world.”

“ASSBs have the potential to provide greater energy, which translates to greater run-time per charge or in the case of an electric vehicle, greater range from a fully charged battery. By combining state-of-the-art cathodes with metallic lithium anodes, ASSBs can achieve up to a 50% increase in cell level energy vs. current lithium-ion cells while even greater energy improvements are possible with more advanced cathodes, which is an additional area of development for Solid Power.”

Solid Power’s ASSBs provide fifty percent higher energy density than current lithium-ion, increasing from 150 – 270Wh/kg to 320 – 700Wh/kg which can increase at the module- and pack-level due to design simplicity.

Lower cost battery packs are possible by minimising the safety features and thermal management as well as the compatibility with automated, industry-standard, roll-to-roll production techniques. 

The solid state batteries are also seeing strong interest from a wide array of markets beyond transportation including aerospace, medical devices, and defence.

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