EVs with solid-state batteries will have a longer range, charge quicker and will be safer in comparison to Li-ion batteries.
While most Japanese carmakers seem to be working on electric vehicles (EVs) quite aggressively, Honda Motor Co. says it will consider developing solid-state batteries for its electric cars to help cut the carbon footprint and meet ever-tightening emission norms in global markets. BMW has also echoed interest in developing the same technology by tying up with Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup firm. Currently, neither carmaker has set a deadline for these batteries to hit the production line.
With pollution levels at an all-time high, carmakers are considering all possible options to tap the next big thing in the market – Electric Vehicles (EVs). Although there are many EVs like the Toyota Prius, Tesla’s Model S and Model X, the Hyundai Ioniq, Mahindra’s e2o Plus and the Tata Tigor in the market, they all seem to suffer from issues such as range, long charging times and high costs. Investing in solid-state batteries is likely to iron out these challenges. If carmakers are able to pull this off in the next five to seven years, it will help turn the Indian government’s ambitious plan to convert the country’s automotive sector into an all-electric space by 2030 a reality.
Solid Power, a company which came into existence via a battery research program at the University of Colorado Boulder, is an industry leader in solid-state battery technology. To improve range and performance, the company uses high-capacity lithium metal anode in lithium batteries. This breakthrough has resulted in liquid-free batteries which are twice or thrice as powerful as conventional lithium-ion ones.
While BMW has invested in Solid Power, Honda is still exploring all possible options for its solid-state battery project. There were rumours of the Japanese firm signing a deal with Nissan until Honda denied any such tie-up.
So far, only Toyota has set a timeline of 2020 for the rollout of its next-generation solid-state batteries. It recently joined hands with tech-giant Panasonic, which already supplies lithium-ion batteries to the Japanese automaker for the Prius.
While research and development on next-gen battery technology is certainly a good move, will it be able to make EVs as competent as vehicles that run on fossil fuel? Or should carmakers stick to incremental developments in current lithium-ion battery technology to make it possible? These are questions that only the future can answer.
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