BMW & Solid Power Partnership For Solid-State Battery Technology

Highlights :

  • The solid-state battery technology will solve various challenges to existing lithium-ion batteries, including range, charging, and safety risks
  • The BMW Group is planning to duplicate Solid Power’s pilot production lines and produce prototype cells based on the latter’s proprietary technology

BMW & Solid Power Partnership For Solid-State Battery Technology Top 5 Reasons Why Solid State Batteries Are Just Around The Corner

Automakers are exploring the possibilities of enhancing battery technology seeking a fit with the growing expectations of the EV industry. Solid-state battery is one such technology that can disrupt the existing power storage market for EVs.

As per some forecasts, the Solid-state battery market size will reach $13.15 billion by 2030 from $805 million in 2021, registering a CAGR of 36.4 per cent in 2022-2030. Like the lithium-ion battery market, Asia-pacific may account for the largest market share over the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 37.9 per cent.

Recently, BMW strengthened its commitment to all-solid-state batteries. The Group entered a joint partnership to develop solid-state batteries for automotive use with Solid Power – the firm developing solid-state batteries. However, the automaker hasn’t yet declared any plans of phasing out its existing battery tech, or even whether the firm plans to try to improve it.

BMW and Solid Power Joint Agreement

Under the Joint Development Agreement, Solid Power granted the BMW Group a research and development license to Solid Power’s all-solid-state cell design and manufacturing know-how. This allows both BMW and Solid Power to conduct complementary cell development and manufacturing activities. Solid Power will host BMW’s personnel to work together to optimize cell manufacturing processes at Solid Power’s facilities. The BMW Group is planning to duplicate Solid Power’s pilot production lines at its facility in Germany and produce prototype cells based on the latter’s proprietary technology.

“We look forward to working even more closely with Solid Power and adding the capability to produce solid-state cells based on Solid Power’s designs at our own pilot facility. We expect this agreement to accelerate the installation of our solid-state prototype line and our companies’ mutual goal of commercializing this promising cell technology,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development.

The Group has agreed to pay $20 million to its solid-state battery partner by June 2024, subject to achieving certain milestones. Notably, the agreement does not include a license to intellectual property related to Solid Power’s electrolyte material, which is its core business. After the installation of BMW’s prototype production line, Solid Power may supply electrolyte material for prototype cell production.

The solid battery maker is already delivering 20 Ah cells to its partners, including BMW, for testing and production. “Over the past several months, we began delivering 20 Ah cells to our partners, including BMW, for initial testing and commenced production of our initial EV cells,” said David Jansen, Interim CEO, President and Chair of Solid Power.

BMW is not the sole automaker interested in the company and its battery technology, with Ford being the other party in partnership with Solid Power.

About Solid Power, Inc.

Solid Power is a developer of all-solid-state rechargeable battery cells for electric vehicles and mobile power markets. The firm uses a proprietary sulfide-based solid electrolyte to replace the flammable liquid electrolyte in a conventional lithium-ion battery. The firm expects its all-solid-state battery cells to be safer and more stable across a broad temperature range, provide an increase in energy density, enable less expensive and more energy-dense battery pack designs, and be compatible with traditional lithium-ion manufacturing processes.

The company is working with both BMW and Ford to jointly develop all-solid-state batteries. In addition, in October 2021, the battery maker announced a partnership with SK Innovation to produce Solid Power’s automotive-scale all-solid-state battery cells utilizing Solid Power’s sulfide-based solid electrolyte, proprietary cell designs, and production processes.

Some of the prominent investors endorsing the company’s solid battery technology include Hyundai, Volta Energy Technologies, Umicore, Sanoh, A123 Systems and Solvay.

Why Solid State Battery?

The proponents claim that solid-state batteries will solve various challenges to existing lithium-ion batteries, including range, charging, and safety risks. Solid-state batteries do away with liquid electrolytes used in conventional lithium-ion batteries and have a larger energy density.

While battery technology is still in its nascent stage, many firms are looking to develop and expand solid-state batteries. Firms like Quantumscape face high expectations with their promise to deliver market-ready batteries by next year. Japan seems to be leading the race in the solid-state battery – six out of ten companies with the most patent applications for the technology coming from the country. Japanese carmakers including Toyota, Hyundai and Honda are filing the most patents for solid-state battery technology – with the first Toyota EV part powered by a solid-state battery scheduled to launch by the mid-2020s. Others are also building up on technology with patents piling up. South Korean firms, in particular, have dramatically expanded the patents in their portfolios.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.