The race is on to develop the latest and greatest electric vehicles, with automakers investing heavily into the next generation of EV technology. That includes General Motors rivals Ford and BMW, which recently announced equal equity ownership in solid-state battery startup Solid Power.
For those readers who may be unaware, solid-state batteries differ from traditional lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries in that they utilize solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, rather than a liquid or gel. The tech has the potential to provide greater energy density than conventional batteries, while also offering faster recharge times, greater safety, higher voltage, lower cost, and a longer life.
While solid state batteries look great on paper, the technology has yet to make it into mass-produced electric vehicles. However, that could change in the near future, especially with major automakers like Ford and BMW pouring money into development.
Per the latest announcement, Ford and BMW contributed $130 million in a recent Series B investment round. The automakers have a joint agreement to use the technology in new electric vehicles set to arrive by 2030.
“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 and ultimately deliver lower costs and better value for customers,” said Ford’s manager of electrification subsystems and power supply research, Ted Miller. “We look forward to delivering these improvements and working with Solid Power to seamlessly and quickly integrate their sulfide-based all-solid-state battery cells into existing lithium-ion cell production processes more efficiently than oxide-based solid-state battery cell makers can.”
Solid Power will ramp up production early in 2022, with Ford and BMW leveraging the technology for testing and prototyping purposes.
Last month, lithium-ion battery developer SES announced that it completed Series D funding with $139 million raised. General Motors lead the funding round, with plans to drive down battery cell costs and improve energy density. Back in March, General Motors announced a joint agreement with SolidEnergy Systems, with plans to build a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts, as well as a new high-capacity, pre-production battery in 2023.