It is reported that Toyota recently has announced over $13.5 billion in battery investments to develop next generation battery, including solid-state battery. Battery pack is the most costly component of electric vehicles, and solid-state battery help reduce battery costs while increasing battery life. It is said that the global largest car manufacturer's gamble on solid-state battery could boost the entire battery industry.
Electric vehicle has improved in terms of distance, performance, charging time and cost as the global electrification process unfolds. So far, the Learning Curve Effect, known as Wright’ Law has been confirmed: the cost of doubled lithium-ion battery capacity will fall by 28%. By 2023, the cost of lithium-ion battery is expected to fall to around $100/kWh, enough to allow electric vehicle to compete with internal combustion engine car.
However, the defect of lithium-ion battery that its performance degrades with time passing, is equally obvious. In addition, the battery emits a lot of heat, requiring the design of a heavy-duty cooling system due to flammable liquids, which is a risk of explosion or fire if damaged accidentally.
Unlike liquid or polymer gels used in conventional lithium-ion battery, solid electrolytes used in solid-state battery can be adopted in the form of ceramics, glass, sulphates, or solid polymers. Solid-state battery has two to ten times energy density of lithium-ion battery of the same size, thanks to the smaller size of solid-state electrolytes. This means getting more powerful batteries without extra space, or using a more compact battery pack without effecting power, makes electric cars more sustainable and lighter. What’s more, the battery will charge faster. In fact, solid-state battery is seen as the “holy grail” of the battery industry. Now, the competition in this area will become more intensive with Toyota, the world’s biggest car-maker’s huge investment.
Here are five companies competing to develop a new generation of solid-state battery:
Toyota has been focusing on solid battery for years, and even has the most solid-state battery (SSB) patents. In early September, Toyota announced it would invest $13.5 billion by 2030 to develop the next-generation battery and battery supply chain, including solid-state batteries. The company plans to reduce battery costs by 30 percent or more by improving the materials used to make batteries and increasing energy consumption.
QuantumScape’s solid battery has a cathode and a solid ceramic separator connected to the anode electrical contacts. When the battery is charged, lithium in the cathode is separated and a metal lithium anode is formed through a ceramic diaphragm, providing a high energy density for electric vehicles. Compared with lithium battery, QuantumScape’s solid-state battery has quick charge and high energy density to lengthen the life span.
3. Solid Power
Ford and BMW are committed to using Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy battery technology in their upcoming electric vehicles.
Last year, solid-state battery featured high performance and long life span, was released. The prototype soft-pack battery developed by the Samsung team can supply power of up to 800 kilometers for electric vehicles on one single charge, with a charge-discharge cycle life of more than 1000 times. In May, Samsung announced that it would develop large all-solid-state cells and prototype all-solid-state cells by 2025, starting mass production in 2027. Samsung has the second-largest number of international patents related to all-solid-state battery following to TOYOTA worldwide.
Ilika, a UK company, mainly engages in design, development and manufacture of solid-state battery in UK, Asia, Europe and North America. It provides battery products for a range of applications in the Industrial Internet of Things, electric vehicles, smart cities, consumer electronics, medical and transportation. The company also accelerates the development of new materials for energy and electronic applications through its patented technologies.