Ford and BMW will soon be having a battery tech supplier in common. They have both signed on a battery startup named Solid Power to provide the tech for the battery packs they will use in their future electric vehicles.
As big name automakers scramble to secure a steady supply of battery for a future that is definitely electric, Solid Power has continued to work on solid-state batteries with the aim of reducing the cost and increasing the range.
Their work has attracted the attention of Ford and BMW, who have both invested in the startup. Ford had earlier joined in an investment round but this time is teaming up with BMW to put in another $130 million in Solid Power. They are being joined by Volta Energy Technologies, a VC that had its origin in the US Department of Energy controlled Argonne National Laboratory.
When the battery is ready, Ford and BMW will use the technology in their respective electric models. The new models are being targeted for 2030 release.
Solid Power, based in Colorado, US, uses battery cells derived from sulphide-based compounds. They assure that while the electrolyte is solid, it is not flammable. They claim their batteries have 50 percent more energy density than lithium-ion batteries. The solid state batteries are also supposed to be less expensive to produce. Interestingly, Solid Power says they have been able to set up a manufacturing process that is similar to that of lithium-ion battery’s, a move that will cut down the cost of production as extensive retooling would not be necessary for a company that wants to switch to production of the new solid state batteries.
CEO and co-founder of Solid State, Doug Campbell says production of the solid state battery will start in early 2021. They will initially be used by Ford and BMW to test their EVs under development.
Ford is not sitting around waiting for Solid State to finish as it has announced it is setting up a lab called Ford Ion Park to come up with a manufacturing process for the batteries that Solid Power is working on. This means the production will be handled in-house by Ford.
BMW too has revealed it wants to equip its EVs with solid state batteries by 2030, which check out with Solid Power’s project timeline.