The quest for solid-state batteries is heating up in the best sense possible. After years of silence, QuantumScape has finally released performance data about its solid-state batteries, and experts are really excited about what it disclosed. One of the challenges it now faces is multi-layering its cell. Ironically, Solid Power has just announced it is manufacturing a multi-layer ASSB (all-solid-state battery) with 330 Wh/kg and 20Ah.
Does it mean Solid Power has beaten the competition? Not necessarily so: this is just a sign that manufacturing was a top priority for the company. Its CEO – Doug Campbell – said that lithium-ion roll-to-roll compatibility was Solid Power’s mission “since day one.”
Solid Power’s lithium metal ASSB has exactly 22 layers, and the company wants to enter the “formal automotive qualification process” – also known as the A-sample phase – at the beginning of 2022. As we already told you, the company expects a viable solid-state battery for cars will be ready only by 2026.
In that sense, QuantumScape is more aggressive: it intends to supply its SSBs to cars in 2025, if not earlier. The company’s battery also promises a higher energy density (above 350 Wh/kg) and presented a good performance at -30ºC. Solid Power states its battery operates well at -10ºC but did not mention lower temperatures.
Another element that allows us to compare both SSBs is fast charging. Solid Power said its cells could recover 50 percent of charge in 15 minutes at room temperature. QuantumScape promised 80 percent of charge in less than 15 minutes.
The major difference between these two solid-state battery attempts is that QuantumScape’s is very promising but still did not reach production tests. When asked about that, Jagdeep Singh said both concept and manufacturing are important – like a brain and a heart on a body – but that the fundamental materials had to be fully developed to get things going. In his words, skyscrapers are only possible due to cement and steel.
Solid Power seems to be satisfied with its fundamental materials already, especially with its sulfide-based glass-ceramic electrolyte. So much so that it already manufactured its first-generation cells in October, which had only 2 Ah. The new 20 Ah cells show how things have evolved in a matter of months.
If that is a sign that Solid Power may anticipate its previous deadline for automotive ASSBs, its other competitors may feel the urge to get things going even faster. That’s the beauty of competition.