Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.
Solid-state batteries offer a promising alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries. To put it simply, they promise lower cost, more power, longer range, faster charging times, and improved safety over their currently in-house cousins.
For this reason, more and more automakers are betting on solid-state, seeing them as the next big breakthrough in EV battery technology.
But we have a question: how close are we to seeing them in the real world? And what are auto companies doing to make it happen?
Volkswagen: The German brand has teamed up with QuantumScape, which plans to start series production of its solid-state battery cells in 2024.
Toyota: Working with Panasonic, the Japanese automaker expects to sell vehicles with solid-state batteries by around 2025. Surprisingly, the first Toyotas to receive the new batteries will be hybrids — not EVs.
According to Grill Pratt, chief scientist and head of Toyota’s Research Institute, that’s because hybrids’ smaller battery packs will reduce the cost of expensive solid-state batteries. On top of this, they provide a better test bed for the new tech, given that they need to charge and recharge more often.
BMW and Ford: Both brands have invested heavily in Solid Power. This has paid dividends already, as the company delivered the agreed upon pilot production line this year.
BMW estimates it’ll have commercial automobile-compatible solid-state batteries by the end of the decade and it promises a demonstrator vehicle well before 2025.
Ford hasn’t disclosed a clear timeline yet.
Stellantis: The group has invested in Factorial Energy and aims to have its first competitive solid-state battery technology introduced by 2026.
Nissan: The company has unveiled its prototype production facility of solid-state battery cells, aiming to launch an EV with the new batteries by 2028.
A pilot production line is expected four years earlier, in 2024.
Honda: Starting mid-decade, the automaker will focus its research on solid-state batteries. It plans to develop its own demonstration line, hoping to make it operational by the spring of 2024.
Mercedes-Benz: Teaming up with Prologium, the German brand plans to integrate solid-state batteries in passenger vehicles in the second half of the decade.
General Motors: The company is currently building its Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center in Michigan, which will focus on the development of its Ultium lithium-ion batteries and the acceleration of new battery tech, including solid-state.
To be fair, solid-state batteries are still at an early stage of development and testing — but the investment is plain to see. The technology has already gained impressive traction and I’m optimistic that, by 2040, most of our EVs will be solid-state. Bring it on.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.