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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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