Top 5 Reasons Why Solid State Batteries Are Just Around The Corner

Highlights :

  • Startups and battery industries in the US, China, South Korea and others are now working towards making solid state batteries a success.
  • Firms like Toyota, CATL Quantamscape and others are moving towards making solid state batteries on a mass scale.
Top 5 Reasons Why Solid State Batteries Are Just Around The Corner Top 5 Reasons Why Solid State Batteries Are Just Around The Corner

Electric Vehicles (EVs) across the world are now seeing wider adoption. A 2023 report from the International Energy Institute (IEA) states that in 2022 alone, the world saw sales of around 10 million electric cars. The advent of Lithium-ion batteries gave a fillip to the industry with its energy density and recharging virtues. However, even as battery makers have continued to work on making Li-Ion batteries better in terms of range, safety and charging speed, the one issue they have been unable to resolve is the issue of cost. Other than the cheaper LFP or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, no major cost breakthrough has been possible, placing the future at risk for many who donot want to depend on China’s stranglehold on the Lithium supply chain.    

It was this conundrum that drive many automotive companies, battery tech startups and battery manufacturing behemoths to seek the  generation of advanced battery technology- where solid state batteries seem most likely to make the journey from the lab to mass production. In fact, the earlies batteries have already started production. The recent announcements from some of the global players, hinted at the likelihood of seeing the technology at scale sooner than expected.

What is a solid-state battery

The conventional Lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolyte in their cells to fuel their batteries. The use of a liquid battery also makes these batteries prone to fire hazards like in case of high temperature or in case of sharp objects hitting these cells. The energy density and higher charging timings are also another issues, creating a hurdle against its growth. 

However, these solid state batteries offer new solutions. Owing to the lack of a liquid electrolyte, it makes it safer. The higher density of Lithium also makes these batteries high performing, allows less timing for charging and makes it a fit case for long duration travels of vehicles using such cells. The smaller size of solid-state batteries compared to the Li-ion batteries also add up to its benefits. A report from IRENa claimed that there is a possibility of solid-state batteries that use solid lithium as the anode, thus avoiding graphite and nearly doubling energy intensity and eliminating the need for cooling, which reduces demand for copper and aluminum. 

Due to very short time period for charging and assurance of long lasting range, solid-state batteries are set to be become the darling of EVs soon, if it comes into the mass production stage soon 

Here are the top five reasons that bolster our confidence in the likely chances of seeing the entry of solid-state batteries sooner–

1. Toyota’s bet on solid-state batteries

Top 5 Reasons Why Solid State Batteries Are Just Around The Corner

Japanese car maker Toyota has planned to bet high on the new advanced technology of solid-state batteries. The firm, besides collecting patents related to the battery technology, has also bet big with investments into manufacturing it. It has already announced getting a breakthrough and talks about testing their solid-state batteries which can provide a range of upto 1500 kms. It has announced going for a mass production of solid-state batteries for its EVs. The time-bound self target set by the firm signals at the confidence of the firm towards the technology towards bringing the technology from lab to market soon and their understanding of the feasibility of its commercialisation potential. Toyota’s move is considered massive, as the firm is not just among the largest automakers worldwide, but also has the strength and supplier ecosystem to make things move much faser than anyone else, once it adopts the technology. 

2. CATL’s mass production plan

The world’s largest battery manufacturing company for EVs- China based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited or CATL is also not behind in this spree. The battery leader is keen to ensure its leadership remains irrespective of the technology, and to that end, it has already made serious plans for solid state battery prodution too. CATL this year announced launching its condensed battery which is a type of semi-solid state battery. This offers a very high energy density of upto 500 Wh/kg, much higher than what the batteries in Tesla EVs offer. This has created a ripple too in the market. The firm has now even planned to use this for electrification of aircrafts. The company has already said that it is likely to start its mass production from this year. 

CATL earlier had already started Sodium-ion batteries in 2021. It also started the production of Qilin battery with the highest integration efficiency in the world. They have been used on multiple high-end BEVs such as ZEEKR, AITO and Li Auto. Qilin, is the third generation of its CTP (cell-to-pack) technology which offers  a record-breaking volume utilization efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg> It was able to achieve the highest integration level worldwide so far, capable of delivering a range of over 1,000 km in a breeze.

3. Chinese SAIC Motor’s Plan With Qingtao

Chinese automaker SAIC Motor has been gaining market share in China for some time now, and actively expanding abroad too. Now, it has also announced a partnership with solid-state battery startup Qingtao Energy Development to develop solid-state batteries for vehicles. It has already passed the battery loading test. Results have shown a range of upto 1000 kms with these batteries It has also passed the nail penetration test. This test is used to find out the preparedness of the vehicles to withstand high temperatures and shocks. SAIC’s launch of vehicles powered by solid state batteries could happen as early as 2026. 

4. Quantumscape’s 2024 plans for solid-state batteries 

California-based startup Quantumscape is another firm that vowed to bring in solid-state car batteries sooner. It has formed a Joint Venture with Volkswagen to produce solid-state batteries by 2024. The firm has expertise in Lithium anode recharge batteries.

It has already undertaken customer prototype testing and claimed to have received breakthrough in this with overwhelming charging cycles. It is now preparing for its commercial solid-state battery product QSE-5 for mass production .

5. South Korean push for new technology

South Korea, the other major battery power besides the Chinese, Japanese and US firms has also jumped onto the bandwagon.Three South Korean firms– LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK On have committed to offer solid-state batteries in the current decade to bolster the growth of the next-generation batteries. 

The increased interest, investments and announcements of several of these automotive and battery firms have reaffirmed the potential of the new technology. With the passage of time and increased research and development, these new batteries will soon likely create ripples in the battery market across the country. 

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