Next-generation solid-state battery technology could provide a push to make electric cars easy to operate and affordable to run, with little difference from today’s gasoline and diesel models. Until recently little more than a laboratory curiosity, solid-state batteries – which use solid electrodes and electrolyte instead of the gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries – are however requiring a special effort from researchers to arrive. to larger dimensions and therefore suitable for vehicular use.
All the big manufacturers have announced that they have firm dates for the commissioning of these bathetries which – in their most basic form – simply replace the gel of today’s lithium-ion cells with a solid or foam-like core. The alternatives are diverse, ranging from chemicals like lithium-sulfur to aluminum ions while other manufacturers, including Tesla, are already turning to iron phosphate ones.
Solid-state batteries appear to be able to offer the best of everything, or so advocates claim: higher energy density (which translates into longer battery life using smaller and lighter battery packs); faster charging times, even just 8-10 minutes; reduced risk of fire; substantially lower production costs.
This latter aspect is perhaps the most interesting: whereas today’s lithium-ion batteries cost between $ 100 and $ 150 per kWh, experts estimate that solid-state cells will initially cost about $ 75 per kWh, and then drop to $ 65. dollars with increasing production volumes and with the medium-term goal of reaching 50. “There is a lot of potential with solid-state technology – said Sam Abuelsamid, automotive analyst at Guidehouse Insights – And this explains why lately everyone in the automotive industry is talking about new technologies.
Despite all the recent announcements – Abuelsamid reiterated – switching to automotive size for batteries that are now the size of a coin is another matter. There is still a lot of work to be done and companies need to demonstrate that they can produce solid-state batteries with mass production volumes. “
The next few years could therefore prove to be critical for electric models. Ford and BMW both plan to start testing vehicles using solid-state batteries next year, while General Motors has scheduled testing in 2023. Nissan said this week that it will open a pilot production facility in 2024 and that mass production will begin two years later.
“If solid state can deliver the promised benefits and increase efficiency as hoped,” said Makoto Uchida, Nissan CEO, “it could truly revolutionize the automotive industry and effectively eliminate the reasons why motorists hesitate. switch to electric vehicles “.
Source From: Ansa