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BMW and Ford are both investing in the future of EV batteries

Solid-state cells are poised to become new industry standard

Just like hard drives, solid-state technology will allow batteries to pack more punch. PHOTO FROM BMW

Currently, most mass-market EVs utilize lithium ion as the battery tech of choice. This is the same kind of battery that is commonly used in our everyday consumer devices (such as the very phone or laptop you’re reading this article on). For electric cars, this type of cell is known for its high energy density, efficiency, robustness, and low self-discharge rate.

However, there’s a new type of battery called solid-state. In a nutshell, it promises to offer a much higher energy density in a smaller package, and enhanced safety. Due to the lack of a liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries pose no risk of explosions or fires if punctured or damaged.

Solid electrolytes are more space-efficient than liquid ones. IMAGE FROM BMW

Ford, BMW and Volta Energy Technologies have doubled down on this new battery type, investing $130 million (P6.24 billion) in Colorado-based startup Solid Power. The two automakers have also made additional agreements with the company for its solid-state batteries to appear in their future EVs by 2030.

Right now, Solid Power is producing 20Ah (ampere-hour) batteries on its production line, which still utilizes the same industry-standard lithium-ion manufacturing processes and tooling. By 2022, BMW and Ford will receive 100Ah cells for testing. The former aims to have a tech demonstrator ready by 2025.

The two brands’ current offerings with the highest range are the BMW iX with a claimed endurance of over 600km, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E with a purported full-charge yield of 480km. While these are already respectable numbers for modern EVs, expect solid-state batteries to easily double these figures. They should also allow future electric cars to have more interior room and, more important, to be a lot safer.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.