The race for solid-state EV batteries gets interesting

A solid-state world

Solid state battery

Another day, another solid-state EV battery announcement. It could be about QuantumScape, Tesla, Volkswagen, Toyota, or any company developing solid-state batteries, like Factorial Energy.

Indeed, over the last twelve months, excitement over next-generation solid-state EV batteries has hit a fever pitch.

The most recent news is that Porsche is developing a solid-state battery for the recently announced all-electric 911.

Last year, VW partnered with 24M technologies for their SemiSolid battery manufacturing process. 24M Technologies has a semi-solid lithium-ion battery, where the electrode is kept in a liquid state, eliminating the need for a drying stage. It uses fewer electrodes, reducing the number of layers and the amount of filler in the battery structure by as much as 80%.

StoreDot is developing semi-solid batteries for electric vehicles that will deliver 100 miles of range in 2 minutes flat. They plan to launch a semi-solid battery in 2024 capable of adding 100 miles of range on a 5-minute charge, with the 2-minute model available from 2028.

However, more recently, StoreDot has said that mass-produced solid-state batteries are at least ten years away.

Nissan has also announced they will use solid-state batteries by 2028 using proprietary cobalt-free technology. They will move towards solid-state technology completely by 2030, committing to zero cobalt.

Then we have QuantumScape, a VW-backed company, that is developing a solid-state battery. Their ten-layer has battery proven itself in tests and is expected to be commercially viable within the next few years.

It certainly appears as though the puck is skating towards solid-state batteries as the successor to standard lithium-ion. Finally, after a decade of promise, it looks as though solid-state batteries will be a thing.

As we discussed in our graphene batteries article, solid-state batteries are one of the most viable successors to lithium-ion. They charge faster, hold just as much energy (potentially more), require less harmful chemicals (no cobalt), and last longer (three times as long on average).

For the end-user, faster charge speeds and greater energy density mean a superior EV ownership experience. You can drive longer and charge faster with a solid-state battery. Now that’s a good deal!

Then there’s the longevity. While a lithium-ion battery degrades and loses capacity after 1,000 cycles, a solid-state battery can potentially maintain 90 per cent capacity after 5,000 cycles, a five-fold increase.

It isn’t just solid-state batteries that are making the news, though. Tesla is ditching cobalt for LFP batteries in Standard Range models.

In November, Tesla also closed a deal for SilLion, a battery research company developing a silicon battery anode.

Exciting times lie ahead for electric vehicles. One thing is for certain – the batteries in electric vehicles today will be obsolete in a decade. The race for solid-state EV batteries has only just begun. s

James Lewis is our resident electrical head. He drives an MG ZS EV (2018, which he loves) and plans to get the new one soon. James is much more excited by the lower end of the EV market and is looking forward to the Ora Cat.