Volkswagen and others look to solid-state EV batteries for increased range

Credit: QuantumScape

A number of automakers are looking to build future electric vehicles (EVs) with solid-state batteries, which are expected to unlock increased energy density, faster charging, and crucially, longer driving ranges. With Tesla as the outlier in that it hasn’t announced any plans to develop solid-state batteries, automakers including Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, and many more have made investments in the sector, although products with the tech have yet to arrive.

As just one example, the U.S. startup company QuantumScape has landed partnerships with Volkswagen and at least five other automakers, saying its anode-less cell design can increase EV range from 350 miles to 400 or 500 miles (via Reuters). The figure represents a margin increase of 14 to 43 percent—though that’s down from prior estimates shared by the company of 50 to 80 percent.

Still, QuantumScape shared initial prototypes with Volkswagen in 2022, and the automaker said the solid-state battery samples could be used in an EV for up to 500,000 kilometers without any degradation. In addition, Volkswagen’s testing showed solid-state charging times to be consistent with Quantumscape’s performance data that said the battery could be charged to 80 percent in 15 minutes at room temperature.

Another example includes Toyota, which said last June that it reached a breakthrough in solid-state battery tech that it hoped would eventually let it make EVs with over 700 miles of range and charging times of just 10 minutes.

Despite this, the automaker said in November that it expects to produce more hydrogen-powered vehicles than solid-state EVs in 2030, highlighting the company’s continued focus on developing hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Honda is looking to add a test production line for solid-state batteries as soon as 2024, and the automaker expects to debut EVs with them by the latter part of this decade. In addition, the company invested in SES AI, with which the company hopes to jointly develop solid-state EV batteries.

Nissan also plans to debut an EV with pure solid-state batteries, which the automaker hopes to develop in-house and debut in EVs by 2028.

The list of companies investing in solid-state tech goes on, and it includes several automakers and suppliers such as Nio, BMW, CATL, U.S. startup Solid Power, LG Energy Solution, SK On, and still many more.

However, even with the many investments and support from several automakers looking to make EVs more efficient, it appears that any solid-state EVs are still years away.

Updated 1/20/24: Second and third paragraphs re-worded for accuracy.

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Volkswagen and others look to solid-state EV batteries for increased range
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