We have already told you how Solid Power believes it has the answer for solid-state cells with its sulfide technology. Although it expects to sell its all-solid-state batteries (ASSB) by 2021, automotive applications would just happen by 2026. The good news is that the company is already producing the first generation of its ASSB. Even as prototypes, they already present many advantages compared to 18650 NMC cells.
Solid Power makes its ASSB with ten layers and regular industrial processes and machines. According to the company, this first batch of cells intends to “prove that mass market is feasible with a demonstration of high-throughput manufacturing using lithium-ion roll-to-roll processes and equipment while testing batteries with external partners.”
At this point, the production pace is of 100 cells per week, but Solid Power plans to scale that to thousands per month in ist MWh-scale, roll-to-roll pilot production line. That would demonstrate that a factory with multiple of these production lines could reach a high production scale.
Although the company considers these cells simply as prototypes, they are already with its strategic partners for validation. If you compare them to regular 18650 NMC batteries, they present 2 Ah, and the mainstream cells range from 2.2 Ah to up to 2.8 Ah. That’s probably their only downside at this point.
The ten-layer ASSBs currently deliver 320 Wh/kg, while 18650 cells present less than 300 Wh/kg. Solid Power has the intention to raise that energy density to more than 430 Wh/kg in future generations of the battery while keeping its mass low. These first-generation ASSBs are 30 percent lighter than 18650 cells.
Summing this all up, Solid Power is telling us that it can mass-produce cells that are not subject to thermal runaway, but not only that. The company says that its first-generation ASSB – still prone to improvements – is already much better than most electric cars' batteries today. It is a pity that the perspective to have them in cars is still years ahead of us.