WaPo Headline: Inside the race for a car battery that charges fast — and won’t catch fire
Subheadline: Amid rising gas prices and climate change, car giants are in a fierce contest to perfect the solid-state battery, long viewed as a ‘holy grail’ for electric vehicles
By Pranshu Verma
May 18, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. EDT
For the past three decades, lithium-ion batteries have been king. They can recharge quickly and hold high amounts of power in a small package. Their benefits made them ubiquitous, fueling not just cellphones and electronic tablets, but pacemakers, operating room equipment and many other essential products.
But experts say their use in electric vehicles has drawbacks. Lithium-ion batteries can’t be charged too often, forcing drivers to ride on a single charge. They might also be reaching a cap on how much power they can store, scientists have noted. Because they are filled with flammable liquid electrolytes, they can also pose a fire risk, which led General Motors to recall their Chevy Bolt electric vehicle last summer.
These batteries also rely heavily on nickel and cobalt, which are facing supply shortages and rising in price. Cobalt, which is mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo by adults and children who often inhale toxic chemicals and contract fatal lung diseases, has sparked a human rights crisis in the country.
Volkswagen has invested $300 million in QuantumScape, a solid-state battery company also backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, aiming to bring the batteries to production by the middle of this decade. Ford and BMW led a $130 million investment round in a Colorado solid-state battery start-up called Solid Power, hoping to debut the technology around 2027. In January, Toyota announced it will put solid-state batteries in hybrid cars on dealership lots by 2025.
For Doug Campbell, the chief executive of Solid Power, the focus on solid-state technology has been a boon. In December, Solid Power went public and raised over $540 million. Now, it is “hiring like mad” as it tries to meet its goal of getting commercially viable solid-state batteries into cars by 2027, Campbell said.
Campbell added that he is not surprised carmakers are flocking to the technology. With batteries accounting for 40 percent of an electric vehicle’s cost and representing a key safety component, finding batteries that are cheaper, longer lasting and less flammable is one of the most crucial innovations for car manufacturers going forward.
Lithium-ion batteries can’t be charged too often, forcing drivers to ride on a single charge.
Depends on the chemistry. True for nickel/cobalt. Not true for LFP cells, Lithium, Iron, Phosphate.
Because they are filled with flammable liquid electrolytes, they can also pose a fire risk, which led General Motors to recall their Chevy Bolt electric vehicle last summer.
Depends on the chemistry. True for nickel/cobalt. Not true for LFP, Lithium, Iron, Phosphate. BTW, the new Tesla 4680 uses a dry electrolyte.
These batteries also rely heavily on nickel and cobalt,
Not the LFP cells, Lithium, Iron, Phosphate.
The BYD Blade Battery is LFP.
Nail Penetration Test on the BYD Blade Battery and NCM Battery | BYD
How do use say “Past use-by-date FUD” in English? LOL
Yes, the search is on for solid state batteries but volume production is years in the future, 5 to 10 years at least. Meanwhile millions of EVs will be using the older technologies.
I’ve been following LFP for a good while, Denny, and have quite a few references to this board on who is doing what on that end. The big problem now is Lithium shortages.
Here you go, Denny.
From just yesterday:
Axios headline: Lithium deficit to last at least 5 years, imperiling EV goals
May 17, 2022
Surging demand for EVs and energy storage will deepen the deficit in lithium supplies for at least the next five years — and spur shortfalls in cobalt and nickel in as little as three years, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights shared with Axios.
Why it matters: Startups may be experimenting with different battery chemistries, but there remains no viable alternative to lithium. These raw material shortages will prevent automakers and governments from achieving ambitious EV goals.
“There is no commercial opportunity to move away from lithium at this point,” Scott Yarham, a regional pricing director for S&P GCI, tells Axios.
By the numbers: Lithium demand last year outstripped supply by about 5,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, Kevin Murphy, principle analyst for metals & mining research at S&P GCI, tells Axios.
That deficit is on track to surge by 10-times, to 50,000 metric tons in 2026.
The big problem now is Lithium shortages.
Indeed! Let’s hope that local mining is permitted ASAP. The crazy thing it’s the greens that want to stop the mining. On the good news front, battery recycling is taking off. Recently I heard that Tesla is recovering over 90% of the key minerals.
Tesla significantly increases its battery recycling capacity, but only a few owner battery packs are coming back
People expect instant gratification but the renewable electric infrastructure will take its time to get it done. Instead of huge government pork programs I’d like to see subsidies for private entities to get it done, from homeowners installing solar and storage to private enterprise recycling.