BMW and Ford invest in $130 million round for solid-state battery company Solid Power

BMW and Ford are ramping up investment in solid-state batteries with a new $130 million financing round in Solid Power.

Solid state batteries are widely regarded as the next-generation of battery cells to power the electric vehicle revolution. They offer advantages like potential for higher energy density (longer range), faster charging, and can be safer.

But there have been issues in bringing them to volume production at a cost where they can compete with the latest Lithium-ion battery cells that have come down in cost significantly over the last decade.

Several companies claim to be solving or even to have solved those issues and are now ready to invest in mass production of those solid-state cells.

This is attracting a lot of interest from automakers looking to secure battery cell supply to support their electric vehicle plans.

For example, Volkswagen has been pouring a lot of money in Quantumscape, which aims to reach volume production in the next three to four years.

Ford and BMW have placed their bet on Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup that spun out of a battery research program at the University of Colorado Boulder.

BMW invested in the startup in 2017, and Ford followed up with its own investment in the firm in 2019.

Today, Solid Power is announcing the closing of a new round of investment worth $130 million led by  the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, and Volta Energy Technologies.

Along with the investment, BMW and Ford “expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.”

They wrote in a press release:

The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.

 Doug Campbell, CEO and cofounder of Solid Power, commented:

BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles. Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.

The company said that both Ford and BMW should use batteries from that pilot production line next year to test in their own electric vehicles.

If all goes well, it would be another few years after that before they can achieve volume production and get the batteries into production electric vehicles.

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