BMW joined forces with Ford as far back as 2017 and announced a massive investment in Solid Power, a company specialized in making solid-state batteries for EVs. That move is going to be paying dividends soon, as the US-based manufacturer announced that it plans to expand its manufacturing capabilities at its factory outside Denver, with the goal of delivering the first test cells for car manufacturers in early 2022.
BMW and Ford will be among the first to get this new tech, considered by many as a sort of Holy Grail for the future of electric cars. Solid state batteries exist today but on much smaller applications. They are considered a much better choice compared to conventional, liquid lithium-ion batteries, as they can hold more energy, charge faster and are less likely to catch fire. However, solid state batteries also have their own issues, such as a shorter service life.
As for Solid Power, the company is building a new facility at the Colorado site in order to increase the output of sulfide-based solid electrolytes, a material that helps shuttle ions back and forts in the battery, in order to generate energy. A new production line for 100A battery cells in in development, as required by Ford and BMW for their cars. As mentioned before, the first test cells for these two car makers are supposed to be delivered in early 2022.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that they will be available in production car right away. Tests need to be carried out and a reasonable date for their mass-market launch could be after 2025. BMW and Ford, together with Solid Power, are not the only ones looking for such a solution.
Toyota is working on the same type of battery with Panasonic, VW joined forces with QuantumScape Corp, Stellantis is working with TotalEnergies and CATL and Tesla seems to be the only one not interested in using solid-state batteries in its cars for now.