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10 Companies Relentlessly Working On Solid State Batteries

10 Companies Relentlessly Working On Solid State Batteries

Recently, solid-state battery technology has been touted as a potential game-changer for the EV industry. The technology offers better energy storage, faster charging ability, and improved safety over traditional lithium-ion batteries. This has prompted numerous companies to relentlessly work to unlock its full potential. Solid-state battery technology employs solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, in place of the liquid electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries.

This design minimizes leakage and thermal runaway, ensuring the batteries are safer and more stable. As a result, there's a potential for higher energy density, making them store more energy in a reduced package.

Companies like Toyota and Volkswagen are pushing solid-state battery research. Volkswagen is using a strategic partnership with QuantumScape to build the technology, while Toyota aims to launch EVs with solid-state batteries as early as the mid-2020s. QuantumScape, solidly backed by Volkswagen, is developing the solid-state battery technology for EVs.

The solid-state technology will bring significant implications to the EV movement. Their improved energy storage and faster charging would produce longer ranges and shorter waiting times while charging for potential EV buyers. Enhanced battery safety will also alleviate consumer apprehensions, stimulating EV adoption. The solid-state battery technology will make EVs more practical and efficient and reshape a sustainable future.

Related: Toyota Solid-State EV Batteries: Timeline, Costs, And Environmental Effects

The Toyota Motor Corporation has always been known for its commitment to innovation and has continued to lead the charge in most automotive developments in the 21st century, most recently the solid-state battery technology. The company is working towards bringing solid-state batteries to the market as early as the mid-2020s, which will be a significant milestone in the EV industry. The company has been toiling on this technology since 2012 and created a team of over 200 dedicated engineers and as a result, has over 1,000 solid-state battery patents.

Toyota's target is to get their solid-state batteries into their hybrid vehicles first before their all-electric offerings. Toyota has a target of about 700 kilometers (435 miles) of range on a full charge which seems to be the key advantage of the solid-state technology over traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Volkswagen has a partnership with QuantumScape, which is one of the pioneers of solid-state battery research, to develop high-energy-density batteries for EVs. In 2018, Volkswagen initially invested $100 million in QuantumScape to showcase its dedication to pushing the boundaries of EV battery technology. In 2020, Volkswagen invested an additional $200 million into QuantumScape to speed up their work together. QuantumScape claimed that their solid-state batteries could travel 80 percent farther than traditional batteries could and could hold 80 percent more charge.

As of late 2022, QuantumScape had already started testing its solid-state battery cells. In the meantime, Volkswagen is also working with other companies on solid-state technology and other battery technologies like the electrode dry coating process, a placeholder for the solid-state battery technology which they are slating for mass production by 2030.

Related: Solid-state Batteries: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Panasonic Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, Inc. is a joint venture formed by the partnership between Toyota and Panasonic in 2020 with a bid to produce cost-effective and high-capacity battery solutions. While Toyota has over 1,000 patents related to solid-state battery technology, Panasonic has 445 patents. For years, Panasonic has been at the forefront of battery technology development and most recently, solid-state battery technology research, revolutionizing the energy storage landscape. The shift to solid-state batteries is to eliminate the risk of leakage, fire, and explosion usually associated with liquid electrolytes.

Although Panasonic has not provided a specific timeline for the technology, the company is actively investing in research and development to advance it. A strategic partnership with auto manufacturers like Toyota, Tesla, and Ford, creates a clear pathway to revolutionize the industry when solid-state technology hits the market.

Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology

Nio’s partnership with battery manufacturer, WeLion has produced semi-solid-state battery cells for their future all-electric vehicles. The semi-solid-state batteries combine a solid electrolyte material with the gel electrolytes within the lithium-ion batteries. WeLion has delivered 150 kWh solid-state battery cells to Nio which they will use in the new Nio ET7 electric vehicle.

The battery pack in the sedan, which is expected to be a direct rival to the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS sedans, is advertised to have a driving range of 1,000 kilometers/621 miles on the CLTC scale which traditionally translates to approximately 740 kilometers/460 miles on the EPA scale. It will also be used in the Nio ES6 SUV to produce 930 kilometers/578 miles on the CLTC scale (approximately 689 kilometers/428 miles on the EPA scale).

Related: How Honda Is Competing With Toyota In The Race To Perfect Solid-State Batteries

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL)

In April 2023, CATL launched a new condensed battery cell, a form of solid-state battery technology, specifically aimed at the new movement towards electrifying passenger aircraft. This battery cell has an energy density as high as 500 Wh/kg. In comparison, the new Tesla 4680 battery cell has an energy density of 244 Wh/kg. This means these new cells can store approximately double the charge than that found in the conventional lithium-ion battery cells.

This cell also has a higher energy density than CATL’s Qilin battery, which is made up of prismatic lithium-ion battery cells and has an energy density of 255 Wh/kg. This battery is available in Geely’s Zeekr-001 EV, with a total driving range of up to 641 miles on the CLTC scale. CATL’s condensed battery cells will almost double that.

Honda, Like some of the other traditional auto manufacturers, Honda has an aim of carbon neutrality by 2050. To this end, they've been pursuing solid-state battery technology with partnerships with companies like General Motors and Sony. In addition to this, Honda is investing about 43 billion yen (approximately $295 million) in building a production line in Sakura, Japan to fast-track their vision of bringing solid-state battery cells to electric vehicles in 2028.

The biggest drawback to solid-state battery technology has been the presence of dendrites which threaten the integrity of the cells. Honda has been working on new research to tackle the dendrites problem. This is to pave the way for Honda to be able to attain their target of 2 million battery electric EVs per year by 2030.

Related: How Toyota's 745-mile Solid-state Battery Has Set The Benchmark For Other EVs

Nissan is confident their research will yield a solid-state battery-powered production vehicle by 2028. To this end, Nissan is working on opening a prototype production plant for solid-state cells by 2024. This production line will be in Nissan's Research Center in Kanagawa. Since Nissan got involved in the solid-state technology movement, they've aimed at reducing the cost of EV batteries by at least 50 percent, tripling the fast-charging capability, and doubling the energy density.

With the best battery cells on the market currently offering about 240+ Wh/kg, that means the aim is to hit 480- to 500 Wh/kg. Nissan is also working on all-solid-state battery cells that employ sodium and the liquid electrolyte is absent. This will have a 20 percent increase in range over the conventional lithium-ion battery cells.

SolidEnergy Systems was founded by Dr. Qichao Hu in 2012 in Woburn, Massachusetts. The company has partnerships with General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Geely, and even Kia. SolidEnergy Systems uses lithium metal technology, which is the separator in place of the traditional gel found in lithium-ion battery cells. SES lithium metal battery cells will have 400 Wh/kg energy density and will produce up to double the amount of range of the traditional lithium-ion battery cells.

The company is employing an AI algorithm to improve safety. It is expected to be more cost-effective, lighter, and charge up to 80 percent in under 15 minutes. In 2021, General Motors invested $139 million in SES, to beyond research and development, have the lithium metal battery cells in cars as early as 2025.

Related: What Nobody Is Telling You About Solid-State Batteries

Solid Power was founded in 2011 as a spin-off of the University of Colorado and since then, their innovative work has attracted sponsorships from companies like Hyundai, BMW and Ford. The company went public in 2021 and has a 75,000-square-foot production plant in Thornton. The company replaces the flammable liquid electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries with a sulfide-based solid electrolyte in their all-solid-state battery cells.

The sulfide-based solid electrolyte is safer and more stable than the liquid electrolyte. The company is aiming to be able to scale production high enough to have produced battery cells for up to 800,000 electrified vehicles by 2028. Solid Power recently received $5.6 million out of the $42 million disbursement funds from the United States Department of Energy Electric Vehicles for American Low-carbon Living (EVs4ALL) program.

Sila Nanotechnologies has strategic partnerships with companies like BMW, Daimler AG, Siemens and CATL, to accelerate the commercialization of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. Their substantial investments in research and development have been with the support of some of the industry's most prominent players.

The company has a roadmap for the release of at least 150+ GWh of battery cells for commercialization by 2028. While spearheading the solid-state battery technology drive, the company has released its Titan Silicon battery cell that delivers 20 percent more range and a 10-80 percent charge of 20 minutes. Mercedes-Benz intends to use it in the EQG.

For its solid-state battery technology, at moderate temperatures, the company will employ melt-infiltrating of a solid-state electrolyte into a porous separator-cathode stack to defeat the dendrites and bulky ceramic electrolyte limitations of traditional solid-state battery technology.

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