On Monday, Automaker Ford led a $130 million round of funding in Solid Power, a startup that is making solid-state batteries. Automaker BMW and venture capitalist Volta Energy Technologies are the others in the funding round. Under the agreement the two automakers will test and integrate batteries from the company in their future vehicles.
Solid Power makes solid batteries, which do not require a liquid electrolyte that is an essential element of conventional lithium batteries. These batteries are currently used to power electric vehicles. Solid state batteries are lighter and have a larger range but they are more expensive as of now as they are in early developmental phases.
In a release, Solid Power CEO Doug Campbell said that the latest round of funding will help the company to increase its in-house manufacturing capabilities and positions.
Hau-Thai-Tang, who is the chief product platform and operations officer at Ford, told CNBC that the auto giant maintains that the next decade would be time when automakers will make the transition from lithium to solid state. He did not specify the amounts of funds that have been invested but said that it was less that the company’s investment in lithium.
A company spokesman for BMW also said that their electric vehicles (EVs) would have solid state batteries by the end of the decade and that they would be developing a demonstrator vehicle to match the battery technology by 2025.
Many giant automakers are looking to invest in their own or collaborate with other companies for batteries for electric vehicles. Earlier, Ford said that it was planning to invest $185 million in a new battery lab. This would be its first step for in-house batteries. It is also investing $29 billion for electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025.
General Motors and LG Energy Solutions are collaborating in the production of two U.S. EV battery cell productions with an investment of $4.6 billion from GM.