Betting on solid-state batteries, can the transformation of a century-old car company succeed?

Technical reserve war for solid-state batteries

  Nowadays, most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries. The forms and combinations of lithium-ion batteries have become richer and more affordable. However, there are constant controversies behind the production. Fire accidents will be reported in the newspapers many times a year. Automobile companies have made breakthroughs in battery technology. It seems particularly urgent. In the race to make cheaper and longer-range electric vehicles, car companies are investing more in a project that has long been considered technically difficult, and this is solid-state batteries.
  Car executives and analysts said that solid-state batteries are a kind of battery technology. Different from lithium-ion batteries and lithium-ion polymer batteries that are commonly used today, solid-state batteries are safer and more durable.
  As the scientific community believes that lithium-ion batteries have reached their limits, both lithium iron phosphate batteries and ternary lithium batteries are lithium batteries with liquid electrolyte. Liquid electrolyte lithium batteries are made of positive electrodes, separators, negative electrodes, and electrolytes; solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes instead of separators and electrolytes. Solid-state batteries can be divided into polymers, oxides, and sulfides according to the type of electrolyte material. Things.
  Solid-state lithium battery technology can greatly increase the energy density of lithium batteries, but the technology is still costly and has not been proven in practical applications. This obstacle is expected to take several years to resolve. At present, major century-old automobile companies such as Volkswagen, Ford and BMW have invested in solid-state battery start-ups to help them implement technological advances and hope that they will be put into mass production.
  The battery startup QuantumScape has received approximately one billion US dollars in investment from automakers and financial investments. According to information from consulting firm AlixPartners, the QuantumScape battery startup in San Jose is composed of computer scientists and co-founders of Infinera, a major telecom component supplier. Founded by Jagdeep Singh and Tim Holme, a mechanical engineer who graduated from Stanford University, they are studying solid-state lithium metal batteries for electric vehicles. In March of this year, Volkswagen’s battery scientists independently verified QuantumScape’s tests in their own laboratories. The total investment in their company reached 300 million U.S. dollars. The current market value of QuantumScape is approximately 10.5 billion U.S. dollars.
  As we all know, battery packs are the most expensive components in electric vehicles, and the world’s largest automakers’ bets in the field of solid-state batteries may boost the entire battery industry.

Volkswagen increased its stake in QuantumScape in order to promote the joint development of solid-state batteries and prepare for mass production
Lower risk and more durable

  The advancement and precipitation of lithium-ion battery technology in the 1980s and 1990s gave birth to Tesla, the first commercially successful electric car manufacturer. Under the leadership of Musk, Tesla has suddenly emerged. The travel range provided by lithium-ion batteries using liquid electrolytes has expanded to the world, and electric vehicles are much cheaper than when they first appeared. As of the end of last year, Tesla has more than 20,000 super charging piles worldwide, and the charging network layout has become one of Tesla’s advantages.
  Tesla’s destruction of the city has amazed more car companies, betting on electric vehicles. John Lowe, managing director of the automotive business of consulting firm AlixPartners, said that global investment in plug-in vehicles has increased by 40% in the past year. .
  But realizing solid-state battery technology and making it popular is still a long-term project. Lowe believes that solid-state batteries have obvious advantages, but it may take nearly ten years to achieve mass production. It is imperative for automakers to invest in the long-term perspective. As a manufacturing business, they must look to the future: “No one wants to When investing in new technologies, they are indifferent.”
  Tim Bush, battery technology analyst at UBS Research, said that a major obstacle to lithium-ion batteries is that as energy density increases, the risk of fire will increase. Tesla and NIO have repeatedly encountered battery-related spontaneous fires. General Motors also recently recalled approximately 142,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles to repair manufacturing defects related to battery fires. While recalling electric cars, automobile companies remind customers not to fully charge the car or park it in the garage until the problem is solved. Industry executives and analysts said that if solid-state technology is popularized, it will make the battery state safer because the core material is unlikely to burn.
  In fact, solid-state batteries have been regarded as the hope of the battery industry. Compared with lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries have significant advantages, including: ordinary lithium-ion batteries require 60 minutes to charge from 10% to 80%, while solid-state batteries It can quickly complete 0% to 80% charging in less than 15 minutes, and the battery production cost is expected to be reduced by 17% compared with ordinary lithium-ion batteries. Compared with ordinary lithium-ion batteries, its energy density is more than 80% higher, the cruising range is significantly improved, the vehicle mileage is expected to increase by 50% to 80%, and the battery life is significantly extended. According to the QuantumScape single-layer battery test, it shows that the median energy retention exceeds 90% after more than 1000 cycles.
How to turn a fuel car factory into an electric car factory

The Volkswagen factory is being transformed into an electric car factory because the German giant wants to change its image and become a competitor to Tesla

  Among the veteran car companies that are undergoing transformation, Volkswagen is undoubtedly as willing to invest as much as Toyota. The company has invested more in electric vehicles than other traditional car manufacturers in the United States. Although no company has successfully manufactured solid-state batteries that can be mass-produced, the start-up company hopes to achieve this goal by cooperating with car manufacturers with a century-old production experience.
  ”Solid-state technology has changed the rules of the game.” said Frank Blom, head of battery development at Volkswagen. After the news that Volkswagen had invested heavily in solid-state batteries, BMW and Ford announced in May that they would invest US$130 million in Solid Power, which is developing solid-state batteries.
  Doug Campbell, CEO of Solid Power, said the company will establish a test line and start building “automotive-grade” solid-state batteries next year. Oliver Zipser, CEO of luxury car manufacturer BMW, said at the Munich Motor Show in September: “We believe that if the next technology emerges, it will be solid.” As for
  other carmakers, Nissan plans to In the second half of electrification, all-solid-state batteries will be promoted to practical use; Hyundai Motors said it is developing solid-state batteries and plans to put the first batch of cars using this technology into mass production in 2030; General Motors invested in the start-up Solid Energy Systems and cooperated with it Develop solid-state batteries; Ford has also invested in solid-state battery start-ups; Daimler and Quebec Hydro Corporation of Canada jointly developed solid-state battery technology, which will be applied to electric vehicles after reaching mass production.
  Although everyone is enthusiastic about this technology, the manufacturing cost of solid-state batteries and their ability to work safely in extremely hot and cold climates are still unclear. The industry believes: “Electric vehicles and batteries must operate in a wide temperature range. ”
  Compared with QuantumScape and Solid Power, Toyota currently has the most solid-state battery (SSB) patents. In early September, Toyota announced that it would invest US$13.5 billion by 2030 to develop next-generation batteries and battery supply chains, including solid-state batteries. Importantly, the company also released an introduction to a prototype car that uses solid-state batteries. This is one of the shortcomings of many solid-state battery startups because they lack a working prototype.
  Toyota’s chief technology officer Masahiko Maeda said that tests have shown that these batteries have higher output than traditional lithium-ion batteries, but they have also found that their service life is very short: “In order to solve this and other problems, we need to continue to develop, mainly to improve the solid Electrolyte material.”

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