January has been a busy month for updates regarding solid state batteries. In 2023 there were limited major announcements within the solid state industry and investments into the space dropped compared to 2022 levels, however 2024 has started with solid state back in the limelight. Solid Power, ProLogium, QuantumScape and Blue Solutions have all made announcements over the past month.
Solid Power Deepens Partnerships
Solid Power and SK On have deepened their existing partnership with three new agreements covering a research and development license, the installation of a pilot cell line and an electrolyte supply agreement. Under the R&D license SK On will pay Solid Power a total of USD20 million from 2024-2027 to license its manufacturing process and cell designs. Secondly, Solid Power will install a pilot production line in one of SK On’s facilities set to commence production in 2025 for the price of USD22 million. Lastly, Solid Power will supply SK On with electrolyte amounting to eight tonnes through to 2030 costing an estimated USD10 million.
This announcement was followed by Solid Power revealing it had authorised the repurchase of up to USD50 million of its shares, a reflection of the confidence company holds within itself following tumbling share prices since it went public in 2021.
New Solid State Gigafactory
On the 23rd of January, ProLogium opened its facility in Taoyuan, Taiwan, with an initial capacity of 0.5 GWh, once fully operational it will have a 2GWh annual capacity. Although there have been no announcements where these batteries will go, ProLogium already has partnerships with Nio, VinFast and Mercedes-Benz. The Taoyuan facility also functions as a showcase factory for ProLogium’s first European facility in France, which has a planned 48GWh capacity and is set to begin construction this year, entering operation by 2027.
QuantumScape’s Cell Passes PowerCo Endurance Test
Volkswagen’s battery subsidiary, PowerCo, confirmed it had tested QuantumScape’s solid state cell for long term cycles and was encouraged by the results, marking a significant step in the commercialisation of the technology. The next step is to begin scaling the manufacturing process of the cells.
Although the Volkswagen Group has been a major investor in QuantumScape since its inception, there have been reports that Volkswagen was looking elsewhere to develop solid state technology. After facing delays with QuantumScape, Volkswagen is holding talks with the French company Blue Solutions, that has already commercialised solid state technology. The pair aim to jointly develop solid state technology for cars, adapting Blue Solution’s batteries already used in electric buses.
Solid state batteries have been labelled as the next generation battery for EVs, however, developments are occurring slowly. Although, not yet in cars these recent advances lay the foundations for the battery landscape of the future. The market remains dominated by startups; however many established players are also looking to develop solid state batteries, with CATL, Samsung SDI, Toyota amongst others, all having the technology in future roadmaps. Considering the advantages solid state can offer we expect by the end of the decade it will begin to have a small share of the EV battery market. Initially, it will be used in more premium vehicles due to high prices, however as the technology develops it has the potential for wider uptake.
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