Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Batteries Begin Pilot Production for Ford, BMW

A developer of potentially revolutionary electric vehicle batteries says it has put the finishing touches on an initial production operation — and hopes to deliver battery cells to a pair of automotive giants by the end of the year. Colorado-based Solid Power announced the completed installation of its “EV cell pilot line,” which will produce solid-state battery cells at the scale needed to power an electric vehicle. Solid-state batteries, unlike conventional lithium-ion batteries that use a liquid electrolyte, feature a solid layer between the anode and cathode components. They would allow EVs to drive for longer ranges and charge more quickly; they would also be cheaper to produce, and would not pose the fire risks that have plagued some early electric models. Developing a viable solid-state vehicle battery, however, has been a slow process. Solid Power says its large-format, sulfide-based cells are composed of more than 50% active silicon in the anode, which would allow for increased energy density and combat the “range anxiety” that has kept EVs on the fringe of the broader auto market. The company plans to bring the pilot line up to full-scale and conduct internal testing in the coming months. At full capacity, the line could produce up to 300 cells per week, or approximately 15,000 cells per year. Production was designed to mimic that of lithium-ion cells. Most of the company’s cells will be aimed at vehicle tests. Solid Power hopes to deliver completed battery cells to automotive partners Ford and BMW by the end of the year, which would officially begin the batteries’ automotive qualification testing phase.

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