The BMW Group, Ford, and Volta Energy Technologies are leading a $130,000,000 Series B investment round in Solid Power, a Colorado-based producer of automotive solid-state batteries. The intent of the investment is clear, with Solid Power to supply solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles, and BMW and Ford have expanded joint development agreements with the company to do exactly that.
The investment follows BMW’s solid-state battery development announcement, which would see the battery technology in a so-called demonstration vehicle before 2025, and in series production by 2030. Solid-state batteries boast numerous advantages over their conventional counterparts, including reduced manufacturing costs and complexity, improved safety thanks to the elimination of liquid, and faster charging. Solid Power is set to begin manufacturing the batteries on its own line in early 2022.
“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.”
Although the technology as it applies to the automotive realm is said to remain in its infancy, Solid Power has already demonstrated its ability to produce next-generation solid-state batteries at scale. Specifically designed to offer longer range and to enable lower costs, solid-state batteries also work with existing manufacturing infrastructure. Last year, BMW and Ford validated hundreds of mass-produced solid-state battery cells from Solid power, helping to formalize the company’s plans with the two key partners.
“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for the BMW Group. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, overseeing development. “Together we have developed a twenty-Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past ten years BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence—important partners like Solid Power share our vision of a zero-emission mobility.”
As of this writing, Solid Power is producing the twenty-Ah multi-layer solid-state batteries mentioned above on the company’s in-house roll-to-roll production line using exclusively industry-standard processes and equipment. Starting in early 2022, BMW and Ford will receive 100-Ah cells for testing and integration, and the flexible platform Solid Power uses allows for unique cell designs suited to the performance requirement of each partner and vehicle model.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG, Solid Power.]