The Next-Generation of Battery Tech Gets a Cash Injection

Wesley Wren
·2 min read
Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford
  • Ford and BMW are unlikely partners on the board of Solid Power after the latest round of investments.

  • The automakers share equal equity in the solid-state battery developer and see the same benefits.

  • Both companies will start to receive 100-Ah battery cells to begin testing and the vehicle integration process in 2022.

The solid-state battery developer Solid Power received a cash injection from Ford and BMW as both companies increased their investments and gained seats on the board—and quicker access to the tech once it gets closer to production-worthy levels.

Solid-state batteries are simple in principle. Instead of a traditional liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte. Without a heavy electrolyte, solid-state batteries can be smaller and lighter than traditional batteries. As you’d imagine with a vehicle, a smaller and lighter battery that offers similar power to a larger battery is a good thing.

Solid Power uses a sulfide-based solid electrolyte for its battery cells. Almost as important as having the technology, Ford and BMW both confirmed last year that Solid Power could make these battery cells, as verified by both automakers.

“By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, and ultimately deliver lower costs and better value for customers,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of electrification subsystems and power supply research. “We look forward to delivering these improvements and working with Solid Power to seamlessly and quickly integrate their sulfide-based all-solid-state battery cells into existing lithium-ion cell production processes more efficiently than oxide-based solid-state battery cell makers can.”

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

With the ink dry on the agreement, Ford and BMW will receive 100-Ah cells for testing and integration into future products. It looks like Ford and BMW will start the vehicle integration process in 2022, though from there, it’s hard to pinpoint when exactly this technology will trickle down into the driveway of consumers.

It’s safe to assume that both companies want advanced battery technology as soon as possible. Ford claims that it will offer an all-electric European lineup by 2030, with BMW claiming it wants at least 50 percent of its global sales to be electric by 2030. We can imagine that a huge breakthrough with batteries would only make those goals easier to hit for both companies.

Could this investment accelerate solid state battery technology across the board? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.