Denver-based start-up Solid Power announced it had shipped its first solid-state battery cell ‘A-samples’ to German carmaker BMW for formal automotive validation. BMW is to produce solid-state battery cells in its own pilot plant in Germany based on the design of technology partner Solid Power. A first prototype car with these batteries is expected by 2025.
An expanded Joint Development Agreement, dating back to December 2023, grants the BMW Group a research and development license to Solid Power’s solid-state cell design and manufacturing know-how. Solid Power’s business model is selling its electrolytes to cell manufacturers and licensing its cell designs and manufacturing processes rather than starting mass-producing itself.
Pilot production at CMCC Parsdorf
Solid Power set up the first pilot production line in the Summer of 2022 to make 300 cells per week or approximately 15 000 cells per year, with the majority of those for automotive qualification testing. Meanwhile, BMW also built a pilot line for solid-state battery cells at its Cell Manufacturing Competence Center (CMCC) in Parsdorf, Germany.
Solid Power’s core technology is its solid instead of liquid electrolyte material and the use of over 50% active silicon in the anode, which it believes can enable extended driving range, longer battery life, improved safety, and lower cost than traditional lithium-ion.
Proof point for technology
President and CEO John Van Scoter says that delivering the first A -Sample EV cells for BMW is a significant milestone for the company. “We are very excited to make these deliveries, begin the formal automotive qualification process, and continue on our path toward commercialization. These A-1 EV cells will also support BMW’s demo car program, which we expect will be a major proof point for our technology.”
BMW plans to use the new solid-state battery in the ‘Neue Klasse’, which will be launched in 2025. These should be safer and more efficient. They have a higher energy density than conventional batteries based on lithium-ion technology of up to 1.200 watt-hours per liter, compared to around 700 watt-hours per liter today.
That should enable EVs to travel farther without recharging and allow shorter charging times, like 100 kilometers in just ten minutes. In addition, the new BMW battery is also said to promise a longer service life than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which will help to slow down the depreciation of electric vehicles.