The electric car battery revolution is coming, but you have to be patient

According to the start-up StoreDot, a company specializing in the development of batteries for electric cars, mass-produced solid batteries should not see the light of day for ten years. Nevertheless, there is an intermediate technology full of advantages that will make the transition smooth: semi-solid batteries.

Audi factory
Audi factory

Autonomy is one of the first things you look at when buying an electric car. But over the years, the models display higher and higher values, while some models such as the Mercedes EQS now exceed 700 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle. But there is a concern. Because if large batteries are needed to ensure a long autonomy, these do not only have advantages.

They cost more to produce, wherease kWh has risen sharply in recent months. But that’s not all, because they also lead to increased weight and consumption, to the detriment of autonomy. A veritable vicious circle.

An alternative for the future

If the solution currently envisaged by certain manufacturers, such as Renault, is therefore toimplant smaller batteries, this does not solve the problem of autonomy. To do this, brands and equipment manufacturers are working on different alternatives, like Tesla with its 4680 cellswhich provide better density and autonomy theoretically increased by 16%.

But other solutions are also being developed. And among them, solid state batteries. This technology, which could revolutionize the automobile, differs in particular from standard lithium batteries by their solid electrolyte, more stable than a liquid solution. As a result, the risk of fire is reduced. Thus, without risk of overheating, the cells can be assembled in a more compact way, thus significantly improving the stored energy density. And therefore autonomy.

Two batteries of the same capacity: on the left a lithium-ion battery, and on the right a solid battery // Source: Samsung

Result, for the same weight and the same volume as a lithium battery, it would be possible to store more electricity. Whether this technology will cost less to produce than the accumulators that we currently know, it is currently very difficult to industrialise. So much so that according to a communiqué from StoreDot, a company specializing in the design of semi-solid batteries for electric cars, this technology will not be available in production vehicles until at least a decade.

Words that more or less agree with those of Nissan, who believe that solid batteries will not see the light of day before 2028 at least. According to StoreDot, manufacturers should consider another solution in the meantime. And this is none other than the semi-solid state battery, very promising and which could play the role of intermediary while technologies evolve. StoreDot’s comments can be qualified, since it has an interest in pushing the semi-solid batteries it designs.

Practical technology

Last March, the Israeli start-up founded in 2012 announced that it was working on a technology allowing recover 160 kilometers of range in just five minutes. A duration that will increase to three minutes in 2028 before reaching two minutes from 2032. A feat precisely made possible by solid and semi-solid technology.

But the firm is not the only one working on the development of this alternative. In effect, Chinese company WeLionannounced at the beginning of the month the launch of the production of its first solid battery which will equip the Child ET5 et ET7. This will allow them to reach a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers according to the Chinese CLTC cycle, which is equivalent to approximately 850 WLTP kilometers. A record against the Mercedes EQS and Lucid Airwhich peak at 780 kilometres.

Nio ET7 // Source: Robin Wyck for Frandroid

The Chinese company is not the only one to show a head start, since this is also the case of Dongfeng. The Asian company is also preparing to launch production of its semi-solid battery. This will equip an electric car similar to the Chinese 408 already marketed in the Middle Kingdom, which can be “recharged” in just three minutes with the battery exchange system. Here again, this accumulator will be able to ensure a CLTC autonomy of 1,000 kilometers, which must be withdrawn between 10 and 15% to achieve autonomy according to European regulations.

On the Old Continent, this technology does not yet seem very developed. Regarding 100% solid batteries, Stellantis expects an arrival in 2026, while BMW rather evokes 2030such as StoreDot. Some solid-state batteries will be produced in France.

While current lithium-ion batteries meet many mobility needs, they are far from perfect. Their energy density could be improved, and the risk of fire could disappear with solid batteries. Let’s do…
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