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Ford, BMW lead Solid Energy’s $130M Assortment B spherical

A Solid Energy manufacturing engineer holds two 20 ampere hour (Ah) all right grunt battery cells for the BMW Neighborhood and Ford Motor Company. The 20 ampere hour (Ah) all right grunt battery cells bear been produced on Solid Energy’s Colorado-based mostly pilot manufacturing line. Supply: Solid Energy.

Solid grunt battery programs bear long been belief relating to the next step forward in battery technology, with loads of startups vying to be the first to commercialization. Automakers bear been one of the most tip investors within the technology, every of them attempting to win the threshold that can model their electrical vehicles safer, sooner and with elevated vary.

Ford Motor Company and BMW Neighborhood bear save their money on battery technology company Solid Energy.

The Louisville, Colorado-based mostly SSB developer acknowledged Monday its most up-to-date $130 million Assortment B funding spherical became once led by Ford and BMW, the most up-to-date signal that the two OEMs perceive SSBs powering the system forward for transportation. Below the investment, Ford and BMW are equal equity house owners, and company representatives shall be a a part of Solid Energy’s board.

Solid Energy got further investment within the spherical from Volta Vitality Technologies, the challenge capital agency spun out of the U.S. Division of Vitality’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Solid grunt batteries are so named because they lack a liquid electrolyte, as Worth Harris outlined in an Extra Crunch article earlier this year. Liquid electrolyte solutions are in overall flammable and at risk of overheating, so SSBs are belief about to be in overall safer. The particular worth of SSBs versus their lithium-ion counterparts is the vitality density. Solid Energy says its batteries can provide as mighty as a 50% to 100% lengthen in vitality density when put next with rechargeable batteries. Theoretically, electrical vehicles with extra vitality-dense batteries can commute longer distances on a single price.

This most up-to-date spherical of investment will wait on Solid Energy boost its manufacturing to manufacture battery cells with the corporate’s highest ampere hour (Ah) output but. Below separate joint pattern agreements with Ford and BMW, this can suppose to the OEMs 100 Ah cells for checking out and car integration from 2022.

Except this level, the corporate has been manufacturing cells with 2 Ah and 20 Ah output. “Hundreds” of 2 Ah battery cells bear been validated by Ford and BMW gradual final year, Solid Energy acknowledged in an announcement. Within the meantime, it is a long way for the time being producing 20 Ah right grunt batteries on a pilot foundation with identical outdated lithium-ion tools.

Versus the 20 Ah pilot-scale cells — that are silent of 22-layers at 9×20 cm — these 100 Ah cells will bear a wiser footprint and mighty extra layers, Solid Energy spokesman Will McKenna suggested TechCrunch. (“Layers” refers back to the collection of double-sided cathodes, McKenna outlined — so the 20 Ah cell has 22 cathodes and 22 anodes, with an all-right electrolyte separator in between every, all in a single cell.)

No longer like Solid Energy’s manufacturing, extinct lithium-ion batteries have to endure electrolyte filling and biking in their manufacturing processes. Solid Energy says these further steps chronicle for five% and 30% of capital expenditure in a conventional GWh-scale lithium-ion facility.

This isn’t the first time Solid Energy has landed investments from the automakers. The corporate’s $20 million Assortment A in 2018 attracted capital from BMW and Ford, moreover Samsung, Hyundai, Volta and others. It’s a part of a brand sleek wave of corporations which bear attracted the glory of OEMs. Other considerable examples consist of Volkswagen-backed QuantumScape and Usual Motors, which has save its money on SES.

Ford is also independently researching developed battery technologies and is planning to originate a $185 million R&D battery lab, the corporate acknowledged final week.

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