Solid-state battery, a game-changing technology: how will it make electric vehicles better?

A solid-state battery is a rechargeable battery similar to the traditional lithium-ion battery. However, the two batteries differ. The standard lithium-ion battery contains a flammable liquid electrolyte. In a solid-state battery, as its name suggests, the flammable liquid-electrolyte is replaced by a solid-state electrolyte, which results in greater safety and enhanced battery characteristics…

The market research & strategy consulting company Yole Développement (Yole) invites you today to deep dive into the e-mobility with a special focus on solid-state batteries and related technologies. With its latest reports, Solid-State Battery 2021 and Status of the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Industry 2021, both  analysts, Shalu Agarwal, PhD., Power Electronics and Materials Analyst and Milan Rosina PhD. Principal Analyst, Power Electronics and Batteries deliver their vision of the battery industry and its evolution. According to them, Asian players dominates the supply chain, but Europe is on the rise…

There are two distinct categories of solid-state batteries: solid-state batteries with a tiny energy capacity (“microbatteries”) and “bulk” solid-state batteries with much larger energy capacity – in the order of 1 Ah and more. Solid-state microbatteries are already commercially available and used in small devices like pacemakers and wearable devices. The “bulk” solid-state batteries are researched mainly for applications in electric and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEVs).

Actually, solid-state batteries have many advantages. These batteries are far less flammable, allowing them to operate over a wider temperature range as there is a lower risk of thermal runaway, leading to blazing destruction. At the same time, solid-state batteries have the potential for a higher energy density, fast charging capability, and lower cost, so desired in electric mobility applications. Therefore, the solid-state battery is potentially a game-changing technology.

However, the development of bulk solid-state batteries is associated with many challenges, such as low ionic conductivity, poor wettability of solid electrolytes, high operating temperature, etc. In addition, bulk solid-state batteries will likely be manufactured from different types of materials and using other processes compared to solid-state microbatteries. For the above mentioned reasons, the mass production of these batteries is a very challenging task, and these batteries exist today in various stages of development only.

Many players have solid-state batteries on their technology roadmaps, with different years of intended production launch. 

To bring solid-state technology from test cell level to mass production, partnerships are more important than ever to get all the necessary solid-state battery know-how together: technology, equipment, high-volume / high-yield production, and end-systems. Today, many EV/HEV makers are pairing with solid-state battery manufacturers to win the race to develop an electric vehicle battery power by solid-state batteries that cost less and have a much longer range. For example:

Toyota has recently announced an investment of $13.5 billion by 2030 to develop batteries, including solid-state batteries and its battery supply system. Toyota is planning mass production of solid-state batteries from 2025 and has already started road testing prototype electric vehicles powered by solid-state batteries.

Solid Power, a solid-state battery manufacturer backed by Ford and BMW, is expanding its factory outside Denver, USA, to scale up battery production to deliver test cells to Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG in early 2022.

General Motors (GM)has also begun a joint development agreement with lithium metal battery innovator SES, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff.  GM and SES plan to build a prototype production line for the cells in Woburn, Massachusetts, by 2023. 

Volkswagen partner QuantumScape has recently announced the development of ten-layer solid-state battery cells. The goal is to bring the new cells to similar capacity retention and cycling behavior as the existing single- and four-layer cells.

Based on the achievement of technology milestones and growing supply chain collaborations, Yole expects that solid-state battery commercialization will start in about 2025. However, small-scale production may happen even earlier. According to Yole, the bulk solid-state battery market will represent approximately 2.36 GWh by 2027, with accelerated growth expected thereafter.

Solid-state batteries are promising options for next-generation battery systems. For solid-state batteries to be considered suitable candidates to replace the current lithium-ion batteries in EVs, all the challenges associated with them must be resolved. The intensive development efforts of EV/HEV makers and their partners will result in a progressive adoption of the solid-state battery as a “premium” battery in the 2025-2030 period. After further optimization and production scaling, solid-state batteries will spread to other applications, but their high added value will remain mainly in e-mobility applications.

About the authors

Shalu Agarwal, PhD. is Power Electronics and Materials Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole),within the Power & Wireless division. Based on Seoul, Shalu is engaged in the development of technology & market reports as well as the production of custom consulting studies.

Shalu has more than 10 years’ experience in Electronic Material Chemistry. Before joining Yole, she worked as a project manager and research professor in the field of electronic materials, batteries and inorganic chemistry.

Shalu Agarwal received her master’s and Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the Indian institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee (India).

Milan Rosina, PhD, is Principal Analyst, Power Electronics and Batteries, at Yole Développement (Yole), within the Power & Wireless division. He is engaged in the development of the market, technology and strategic analyses dedicated to innovative materials, devices and systems. His main areas of interest are EV/HEV, renewable energy, power electronic packaging and batteries.

Milan has 20 years of scientific, industrial and managerial experience involving equipment and process development, due diligence, technology and market surveys in the fields of renewable energies, EV/HEV, energy storage, batteries, power electronics, thermal management, and innovative materials and devices.

He received his PhD degree from Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP) in France.

Milan Rosina previously worked for the Institute of Electrical Engineering in Slovakia, Centrotherm in Germany, Fraunhofer IWS in Germany, CEA LETI in France, and utility company ENGIE in France.

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