Electric Cars

BMW bets big on solid-state batteries for next-gen electric cars

The automaker has partnered with a solid-state battery company to bring this tech to consumers.

BMW

One electric-car-related development worth keeping an eye on is the solid-state battery. BMW's clearly paying attention, because it just teamed up with a company dedicated to developing them.

Solid Power, a startup that makes solid-state EV batteries, announced today that it is teaming up with BMW in what could become a very important development for the future of electric vehicles. The goal is for BMW to get Solid Power's solid-state batteries to a level appropriate for performance EVs.

Right now, the closest thing BMW has to a performance EV is the i8 plug-in hybrid, but there's a sporty variant of the i3 coming soon, as well.

BMW

BMW has not said what vehicles would get this kind of battery first, nor did either company disclose any financial information surrounding the deal, nor were any timelines offered. So, consider this more of a "here's what we hope to do" situation than a "here's what we are going to do" situation.

Solid Power got its start in 2012, when it was spun off from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As the name suggests, the company's primary goal is to develop a mass-market, solid-state battery sufficient for use in electric vehicles. The company believes it can be done in a way that makes this new tech less expensive than current lithium-ion EV batteries.

Solid-state batteries, as the name again suggests, rely on a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid or gel. Benefits include a lower chance of overheating, as well as a higher energy density, which means more EV range without a whole bunch of unwanted mass. The main drawback at the moment is price -- they are still too unaffordable for mass-market vehicles.

Solid Power isn't the only company in this game. Toyota is also working on its own solid-state battery breakthrough, which it hopes to have in an electric car by 2022. That could very well give the company an advantage as it prepares to launch a flurry of new electrified vehicles through the next decade.