Solid-State Batteries Will Spark a Battery Revolution

November 20, 2022

The Difference Between Solid-State Battery and Traditional Lithium Ion Battery

Lithium-ion batteries have become the first choice for many applications. Lithium-ion batteries can be used in mobile phones, laptops, electric tools, electric cars, electric trucks and buses, and even electric airplanes. The traditional lithium-ion battery is composed of negative electrode, positive electrode, isolating membrane and liquid electrolyte. Flammable liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries can cause many safety problems, such as electrolyte leakage, fire, explosion, etc. As the name implies, solid electrolyte replaces flammable liquid electrolyte in solid-state battery, which improves safety and battery performance. Solid-state battery is developed to create a new generation of battery with higher energy density, fast charging capacity, lower cost and higher safety.

Current Status of Solid-State Batteries

The potential applications of solid-state batteries cover many industries, including automobile, consumer electronics, industry, aerospace, etc. Solid-state batteries are divided into two different categories: one is small capacity solid-state batteries, which have been commercially available by many suppliers and are mainly used in consumer electronic products. The other is large capacity solid-state batteries, which are used in electric and hybrid vehicles (EV/HEV), which is the main driving force for the development of solid-state batteries.

--Developing for Electric Vehicles

The use of internal combustion engine (ICE) to provide power for automobiles has a history of more than 100 years, but the era of ICE is coming to an end. EVs will gradually replace internal combustion engine vehicles, and within a few years, EVs will become the mainstream of automobiles. However, EVs have many problems, such as short range, long charging time, cost and safety. At present, many car users are worried about these problems. A simple way to increase the range is to increase the battery capacity. The battery capacity can be increased by increasing the number of cells (basic units) in each battery pack (a large battery in the vehicle). But with this method, the price and weight of the battery will also increase, and the battery will take up a lot of space in the vehicle. Increasing the energy density of the battery may be a more appropriate solution. Solid-state battery technology can improve the energy density of the battery, thus reducing the number of batteries required for each vehicle. This is why many battery manufacturers and automotive OEMs are committed to developing solid-state batteries. 

--Development Challenges

Although people claim that solid-state battery has many advantages compared with traditional lithium-ion battery, its development faces many challenges, such as low ionic conductivity, poor wettability of solid electrolyte, and high working temperature. But the final selection of solid electrolyte materials, related equipment and production process are still under study.

If a battery has higher safety and better performance, it may win in the market competition. Therefore, despite the challenges in technology and supply chain, so many battery and automobile manufacturers have proposed the target roadmap for mass production to ensure a leading position in the solid-state battery market.



The Future of Solid-State Batteries

--When Will Solid-State Batteries Be Available?

Toyota plans to start mass production of solid-state batteries from 2025. QuantumScape and Panasonic also plan to mass produce solid-state batteries from 2025 to 2026, and Samsung SDI will also start mass production of solid-state batteries from 2027. In addition, many electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Hyundai and BMW, have invested in solid-state battery start-ups and plan to launch EVs equipped with solid-state batteries within a few years. Volkswagen plans to launch solid-state battery EVs around 2025 and cooperate with the start-up QuantumScape. So, who will win the competition of EV solid-state battery? 

Thanks to the development of technology and the continuous growth of supply chain cooperation, the market research company Yole Développement expects that the commercialization of solid-state batteries will begin around 2025. However, small batch production may be realized in advance. According to the data of Yole Développement, the market demand for high-capacity solid-state batteries will reach about 2.36 GWh by 2027, and may accelerate after 2027. Therefore, it may be the first to adopt it in the low price models of high-end electric passenger vehicles, or as a high price battery upgrade option. The successful application of solid-state battery in passenger vehicles will accelerate the transformation from HEVs to all EVs. In the future, solid-state batteries will be extended to other applications such as aerospace.It is an arduous task to realize the mass production of solid-state batteries. Taking into account various factors such as technology, equipment, mass/high-yield production and terminal system, it is more important for manufacturers to cooperate closely in the research and development of solid-state batteries than ever before. EV manufacturers have a unique position in cooperation because they can provide more than 100 million dollars of capital, need to use solid-state battery technology to differentiate themselves from competitors, need to use large capacity batteries (a large number of batteries are needed in each vehicle and a large number of vehicles are produced each year), and have mature sales and distribution networks.

--Prospects of Solid-State Batteries

Solid-state battery technology will eventually be applied to the next generation battery system. EV/HEV manufacturers and their partners have carried out a lot of research and development. By 2025~2030, solid-state batteries will be used more and more widely as a "high-quality" battery. After further optimizing the technology and expanding the scale of mass production, solid-state batteries will also be applied to other fields, but their value is mainly reflected in the field of electric transport applications.

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