Solid state battery techniques have lengthy been thought of the following breakthrough in battery know-how, with a number of startups vying to be the primary to commercialization. Automakers have been among the high buyers within the know-how, every of them searching for the sting that can make their electrical autos safer, quicker and with elevated vary.
Ford Motor Company and BMW Group have put their cash on battery know-how firm Solid Power.
The Louisville, Colorado-based SSB developer stated Monday its newest $130 million Series B funding round was led by Ford and BMW, the newest sign that the 2 OEMs see SSBs powering the way forward for transportation. Under the funding, Ford and BMW are equal fairness house owners, and firm representatives will be part of Solid Power’s board.
Solid Power obtained further funding within the round from Volta Energy Technologies, the enterprise capital agency spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.
Solid state batteries are so named as a result of they lack a liquid electrolyte, as Mark Harris defined in an Extra Crunch article earlier this yr. Liquid electrolyte options are normally flammable and susceptible to overheating, so SSBs are thought of to be typically safer. The actual worth of SSBs versus their lithium-ion counterparts is the vigor density. Solid Power says its batteries can present as a lot as a 50% to 100% enhance in vigor density in comparison with rechargeable batteries. Theoretically, electrical autos with extra energy-dense batteries can journey longer distances on a single cost.
This newest round of funding will assist Solid Power increase its manufacturing to supply battery cells with the corporate’s highest ampere hour (Ah) output but. Under separate joint improvement agreements with Ford and BMW, it’ll ship to the OEMs 100 Ah cells for testing and automobile integration from 2022.
Until this level, the corporate has been manufacturing cells with 2 Ah and 10 Ah output. “Hundreds” of two Ah battery cells have been validated by Ford and BMW late final yr, Solid Power stated in a press release. Meanwhile, it’s presently producing 20 Ah reliable state batteries on a pilot foundation with commonplace lithium-ion tools.
As against the 20 Ah pilot-scale cells — that are composed of 22-layers at 9×20 cm — these 100 Ah cells may have a bigger footprint and much more layers, Solid Power spokesman Will McKenna informed TechCrunch. (“Layers” refers back to the variety of double-sided cathodes, McKenna defined — so the 20 Ah cell has 22 cathodes and 22 anodes, with an all-solid electrolyte separator in between every, all in a single cell.)
Unlike Solid Power’s manufacturing, conventional lithium-ion batteries should endure electrolyte filling and biking of their manufacturing processes. Solid Power says these further steps account for five% and 30% of capital expenditure in a typical GWh-scale lithium-ion facility.
This isn’t the primary time Solid Power has landed investments from the automakers. The firm’s $20 million Series A in 2018 attracted capital from BMW and Ford, in addition to Samsung, Hyundai, Volta and others. It’s a part of a brand new wave of firms which have attracted the eye of OEMs. Other notable examples embody Volkswagen-backed QuantumScape and General Motors, which has put its cash on SES.
Ford can also be independently researching superior battery applied sciences and is planning to open a $185 million R&D battery lab, the corporate stated final week.