Electric vehicles don’t only move people, they move companies too. And Volkswagen is making big moves when it comes to investing in battery-powered vehicles.
According to an article in AXIOS written by Eric Wachsman, director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute at the University of Maryland, founder of Ion Storage Systems, and 3rd vice president of the ECS board of directors, in June alone, Volkswagen invested $100 million in QuantumScape, a solid state battery startup. And now, the car company is considering building a factory in Europe to produce solid state batteries, a next-generation battery technology, to power their electric vehicles. Volkswagen isn’t alone. Solid-electrolyte batteries are getting international attention from companies like Toyota, Nissan, Dyson, and BMW, who’ve all made similar investments.
Although lithium-ion batteries, found in today’s electrically powered vehicles, have offered improved performance and lower costs year over year, it comes as a dual-edged sword. Because at the heart of the lithium-ion batteries lies a highly flammable liquid electrolyte, creating a safety risk not worth taking.
Solid-electrolyte technology not only offers safety but business opportunities as well. For solid-electrolyte batteries to be cost-effective, they require a dramatically different manufacturing system and supply chain, opening up opportunities for companies that couldn’t otherwise compete with Asian plants that produce most of the world’s lithium-ion batteries.
It’s clear that solid state batteries are the future, and scientists are working towards it. Wachsman, an expert on solid oxide fuel cells, will be presenting his research on Safe, High-Energy-Density, Solid-State Li Batteries at AiMES 2018 in Cancun, Mexico on October 1, 2018. He is just one of many.
AiMES 2018, taking place September 30–October 4, 2018, will draw in scientists from all over the world to present their work and discuss the future of batteries. ECS meetings offer scientists, engineers, and researchers the opportunity to come together and share results and discuss ideas and issues in the field. Don’t miss it. Meet the innovators and leaders of the battery field this fall.