The developer of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles Solid Power has announced that it has completed the installation of a pilot production line in Louisville, Colo. The goal is to start produce the first batches of solid-state, silicon-rich batteries to carry out internal tests with them at the hands of its partners, BMW and Ford, who will carry out tests to verify the technology in real vehicles at the end of the year.
In late 2020, Solid Power announced that it was starting solid-state lithium battery production at its Louisville, Colorado facility. These 22-layer batteries were capable of offering 20 Ah of electrical charge for which a automated roll-to-roll production system which is the one commonly used in the electronics industry. A preliminary and fundamental step to pass to scale both processes and cells to a higher format which is what is required for its implementation in electric cars.
In an interview, the CEO and co-founder of Solid Power, Doug Campbell, announced that the Colorado company has established a pilot production line to provide samples for validation to Ford and BMW, the two partners that have collaborated on the development of the cells. In the press release ratifying this information, the company also states that it continues in the search for another partner to collaborate in large-scale manufacturing as of 2026. One of the possible partners it is considering is the Korean company SK Innovation, which is building two battery plants with Ford in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Campbell said Solid Power has enough production capacity at its pilot plant to provide prototype battery cells to other vehicle manufacturers, but declined to provide specific details.
In the cells that Solid Power has presented, the solid electrolyte through which the lithium ions travel uses a sulfur compound. It also uses lithium metal anodes with a high silicon content that allows the battery to charge quickly and NCM (nickel, cobalt, manganese) cathodes.
Although anodes made from this material do not provide as much energy density as metallic lithium, Solid Power’s high-silicon batteries are capable of achieving a density of 350Wh/kg, which is around 90 Wh/kg more than the best lithium cells currently used in electric cars. In practice, this means an increase in 35% more autonomy or a battery with the same capacity but that is 35% lighterwhich also has a significant effect on range improvement.