bmw-and-ford-invest-in-solid-state-battery-startup-for-future-evs

Ford and BMW have invested in Colorado-based solid-state battery startup Solid Power.Solid-state batteries are promised to offer greater energy density than the lithium-ion batteries that are currently used in electric vehicles.The upcoming EVs with the new batteries will arrive by 2030. Ford and BMW are investing $130 million in solid-state battery startup Solid Power in a push to reduce the cost and increase the range of their future electric vehicles. Ford initially contributed to an earlier investment round in 2019, and both automakers have joint agreements to use the technology in upcoming electric vehicles that will arrive by 2030.

Solid-state batteries, which are not yet being used in mass-market cars, promise to offer greater energy density compared to the lithium-ion batteries typically used in today’s electric vehicles. Solid Power uses sulfide-based cells and promises that its solid electrolyte is not flammable, and it says they deliver more than 50 percent more energy density. The startup produces them using a manufacturing infrastructure similar to that used for lithium-ion battery production.

A BloombergNEF (New Energy Finance) report from December 2020 said that the production costs of manufacturing solid-state batteries could be 40 percent that of current lithium-ion batteries when they reach full-scale production. However, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer told CNBC that its investment in solid-state batteries is currently “significantly smaller” than for lithium-ion.

Solid Power will begin production of the automotive batteries early next year, according to Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. They’ll be used for the testing and development of upcoming Ford and BMW vehicles starting then, too. Ford announced last week that it’s opening a $185 million lab called “Ford Ion Park” next year to develop new processes for producing these solid-state battery packs in house.

Ford just launched the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, of which it has sold 6614 so far this year, and the electric F-150 Lightning will arrive next year. BMW currently has the electric i3 on sale in the U.S. and the i4 sedan and iX crossover will arrive soon. It says that its new generation of electric vehicles will launch in the middle of the decade. A prototype car with the technology will be on the road by 2025, BMW says.

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