Emergence Of EVs And Their Effect On Solid State Battery Advancement

Contributed Commentary by Saloni Walimbe, Global Market Insights  

December 11, 2019 | Electric vehicles are touted as the future of transportation by most prominent automakers. In fact, industry experts claim that EVs are poised to hold nearly 10-12% of the cumulative automotive sales by 2030. 

The popularity of EVs is driven by a multitude of factors including propitious regulatory initiatives across eminent economies like China, India, and Europe, as well as advancements by key OEMs including Volkswagen and Honda and the ongoing evolution of battery technologies.  

The battery technology landscape is currently being dominated by the lithium ion battery. The scope of lithium ion batteries is vast—from powering devices as small as smartphones to infrastructures as complex as power grids.  

In the present scenario, lithium-ion battery is the most advanced technology available, with myriad studies underway for the enhancement of safety and performance. Solid state lithium ion batteries, particularly, have earned burgeoning attention with more and more companies claiming that they can double the energy density of traditional lithium ion batteries and provide better safety. 

Solid state batteries are highly sought-after as the future of battery technology as they offer vast benefits encased in a smaller package. These batteries have high energy density, faster charging ability and longer life. Another key plus for solid state batteries is their resistance to pressure and the subsequent mitigation of fire risk. Car makers are highly investing in the development of this technology, as the non-flammable nature of the product would eliminate the need for a cooling system and allow for a larger battery space. 

There are certain hurdles, however, that need to be addressed before solid state batteries enter the mainstream market. Aside from displaying robust performance, the batteries would need to be produced at scale at lower costs. Furthermore, the solid-state battery market faces intense competition from the existing lithium ion battery domain, which is gathering significant interest from pivotal industry players like Tesla. 

Even so, solid state battery developments are well underway, with many companies rallying towards advancing this revolutionary battery technology. 

Companies Working Toward Launching Solid State Battery Technologies 

As the benefits of solid-state batteries come to light and the need for sustainable power sources escalates, companies across the globe are working tirelessly tadvance the solidstate battery technology. 

Volkswagen, in 2018, invested $100 million in QuantumScape, a startup working toward developing solid state batteries. The company aims to produce 1 million EVs by the end of 2025, including vehicles powered by solid state battery solutions. 

Drs. Fangfang Chen and Xiaoen Wang, research fellows at Australia’s Deakin University in the Institute of Frontier Materials, have reportedly developed a solid state electrolyte using a common commercial polymer. This development opens up myriad avenues for the solidstate battery market by replacing volatile liquid electrolytes with solid polymer materials, thereby presenting a potential future free from explosion or fire risk from batteries. 

Meanwhile, materials research company Ilika has established a largescale battery facility to produce and develop solid state lithium ion batteries, in Hampshire, UK. Belgian company Imec presented a potential record for a solidstate battery combination at the European Electric Vehicle Batteries Summit, by introducing a solidstate Li-metal battery comprising 400wh/liter energy density charging at a speed of 0.5C (two hours). And in April 2019 a prominent solid-state battery startup, Solid Power, joined hands with automaker Ford in order to advance batteries for their next-gen EVs. 

Solid State Battery Limitations 

While solid state batteries are thought to be the future of battery technology, they pose certain challenges. For one, solid state batteries are an evolving technology, which means their production costs run high. Studies show that a regular cell-phone size solid state battery would require nearly $15,000 for manufacturing, while large batteries designed to operate cars would cost over $100,000. 

Another hindrance to solid state batteries currently is the components. While numerous metals, metallic salts, and alloys are known for their ability to power traditional rechargeable batteries, the ideal chemical and atomic composition required for solid electrolyte is yet to be established. Myriad research studies are being undertaken to narrow down and develop this composition, but a lot more data would be required in order to find, synthesize, and manufacture suitable materials for solid state battery technologies. 

Yet companies are making persistent efforts towards developing batteries with higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs. While lithium ion batteries are projected to remain a popular battery option for at least the next 10 years, owing to immense productivity and technological maturity, solid state batteries are not far behind. 

In fact, fully commercialized EVs powered by solid state batteries are expected to penetrate the market by as soon as 2025. Toyota, for instance, has moved up its target to sell 5.5 million EVs, from 2030 to 2025, touting solid state batteries as the key to achieving this goal. 

Saloni Walimbe is a content creator at Global Market Insights (GMI). An avid reader since childhood, Saloni is currently following her passion for content creation by penning down insightful articles relating to global industry trends, business, and trade & finance. With an MBA-Marketing qualification under her belt, she has spent two years as a content writer in the advertising field. Aside from her professional work, she is an ardent animal lover and enjoys movies, music and books in her spare time. She can be reached at saloni.walimbe@gminsights.com. Global Market Insights Inc. has a market report dedicated to global solid-state battery, available at: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/solid-state-battery-market