BMW AG and Ford Motor Corp. are leading an investment round for $130 million in Solid Power, a start-up based on solid-state batteries. The companies announced on Monday that this is a part of their move towards lowering the electrical vehicles’ costs by funding the development of powerful yet reasonable rechargeable batteries.
Doug Campbell, Solid Power’s CEO and co-founder said, “The partnerships and the capital that comes along with it are really going to put us on a good footing to execute on our road map, which simply speaking is qualifying this technology for vehicle use and getting them into vehicles in the not-too-distant future,” in an interview.
Solid-state batteries deploy a high-capacity storage device for the engines, improving the presently used lithium-ion batteries. The improvement happens by replacing the gel or liquid with solid material in the electrolyte. The solid material to be used would be of a conductive type.
Improved energy density, enhanced battery safety, and a lot more benefits accompany these batteries, as there will not be any flammable component in them. Solid Power company stated that its solid-state batteries are capable of delivering 50 percent more energy density when compared to the lithium-ion batteries used at present.
However, the technology needed to develop these batteries is pricier than the one used for lithium-ion cells. Moreover, solid-state technology needs to assure its sustainability and operation in the real world, while increasing its scalability as per customers’ demands.
Leading car manufacturing companies are competing to develop electric automobiles due to the rapidly increasing levels of CO2 emission in Chinese and European nations. This announcement on Monday is the second investment for Volta Energy and Ford in the start-up. Both the firms were also a part of the Series A $26 million round back in 2018. Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor Co. were also a part of this deal.
Ford Motors’ chief officer for product platform and operations said, “We’ve been working with more than a dozen different start-ups in this space and we’ve been most impressed with the progress that Solid Power has made.”
Earlier this year, the Solid Power company raised a convertible debt from leading BMW iVentures for $5 million. The Denver-based company’s partnership with the German Manufacturer started in 2016. The company was founded as a University of Colorado’s spinout in 2012.
Campbell stated that Ford and BMW will now be the owners of equal shares after the latest developments. The stakes are not identified as of now.
BMW plans to develop five wholly electrical variants across the BMW and MINI brands and added that it would have fully electrical models in almost all of the company’s market parts by 2023. Ford, on the other hand, is working to electrify crucial models lined up for launch.
While it already sells the completely electric SUV Mustang Mach–E, the company is planning to incorporate the same for the Transit van launching this year and the F – 150 pickup for the coming year.