2019 BMW i8
As electrification moves to the automotive world's center stage, automakers are quickly sorting out strategic partnerships with battery suppliers to solidify their futures. On Monday, Solid Power, a U.S.-based battery company, announced it would work with BMW on game-changing solid-state batteries.
A solid-state battery replaces liquid or gel-like electrolytes with a conductive material to increase performance, offer more capacity, and increase safety. Specifically, Solid Power said BMW will lend its expertise to help create batteries for "high-performance" electric vehicles. Solid Power says its technology can potentially lower costs because solid-state batteries don't need as many safety features as lithium-ion batteries.
Many automakers have begun research into solid-state batteries. Of well-known automakers, Toyota was first to announce its plans to deploy the battery technology in passenger cars in the early 2020s. Fisker also filed patents for its own solid-state battery technology and manufacturing process. The small electric-car company said the technology should be ready for major automotive applications around the same timeframe Toyota gave. The Fisker EMotion was scheduled to launch with the solid-state batteries, but the company nixed the idea after a partnership fell through and deemed more research was necessary.
Solid Power, formed in 2012, said it plans to double its employee count in the next three years at its Louisville, Colorado, facility to bolster battery research and engineering. As the partnership progresses, we'll likely discover more about what both companies plan for the near future. Neither company discussed details on specific partnership agreements and financial details in the announcement.