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BMW and Ford invest in solid-state battery startup Solid Power

Solid Power, a producer of solid-state EV batteries, has announced a $130-million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and BMW have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all-solid-state batteries for future EVs.

“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO of Solid Power. “Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022.”

Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale solid-state batteries using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure. The company delivered hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s Manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs, and integrate solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”

“The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles,” said BMW Board Member Frank Weber. “We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power. Together we have developed a 20 Ah all-solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field.”

Solid Power is currently producing 20-ampere-hour (Ah) multi-layer solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which uses industry-standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.

Both Ford and BMW will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s technology allows the production of unique cell designs for each automotive partner.

“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability—after all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory. “The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment.”

Sources: Volta Energy Technologies, Solid Power

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