Cue the pomp and circumstance, folks, because BMW is officially flirting with the future, and its date to the prom is none other than Solid Power and their solid-state cells. That's right, the Bavarian luxury chariot-maker has just been handed the keys to the electric kingdom, receiving the first-ever A-sample solid-state cells from the U.S. battery virtuoso. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's break down what sets these solid-state marvels apart from BMW's current gen 6 batteries:
- Electrolyte Composition:
- While the gen 6 batteries dance with a liquid electrolyte, Solid Power's solid-state cells waltz with a cutting-edge solid electrolyte, specifically a sulphide-based one. This isn't just a new step; it's a whole new dance routine that promises higher efficiency and safety.
- Energy Density:
- BMW's gen 6 batteries are like a marathon runner – they're strong but have their limits. Solid Power's cells, however, are like a sprinter on a sugar rush, boasting an energy density of 390 Wh/kg with a silicon anode and up to 440 Wh/kg with a lithium-metal anode. That's a significant boost that could mean longer ranges and lighter batteries.
- Safety is key, and while BMW's current batteries are safe when treated right, Solid Power's solid-state cells are like a tank – tougher, with a non-flammable solid electrolyte that reduces the risk of thermal events.
- Charging and Longevity:
- Charge it fast and use it hard – that's the promise of Solid Power's cells. Unlike gen 6 batteries that may complain about fast charging, these solid-state batteries could endure the sprint of a quick charge without sweating over a reduced lifespan.
- Here's where it gets even better. Solid Power claims their solid-state tech can cozy up to existing manufacturing processes thanks to the use of conventional NMC cathodes. This means that integrating this tech into BMW's production lines might be smoother than a fresh autobahn.
Now, back to the story at hand. BMW's engineers are now rubbing their hands together, ready to tinker and toy with a technology that could very well zap us into a new era of electromobility. This isn't just any delivery, though – we're talking about the formal automotive qualification process. Think of it as the battery's rite of passage, proving it's tough enough for the automotive world's high stakes.
John Van Scoter, the grand maestro at Solid Power, couldn't contain his glee, noting that this marks a "major milestone" for the company. And why wouldn't he be chuffed? These A-1 EV cells aren't just for show; they're set to strut their stuff in BMW's demo car program, which is expected to turn heads before we hit 2025.
But wait, there's more. BMW isn't just sitting pretty waiting for these cells to power their rides; they're rolling up their sleeves and getting down to business. With a research and development license snug in their pocket, they're gearing up to build a prototype line for these solid-state wonders at their Cell Manufacturing Competence Centre, not far from the frothy beers and lederhosen of Munich.
If you haven't heard of Solid Power before, let me paint you a picture. Since 2011, they've been the cool kids on the battery block, pushing the envelope of solid-state tech. Last summer, they were all the buzz, announcing their pilot production line was ready to churn out cells faster than a pretzel vendor at Oktoberfest. And they're not just teaming up with BMW; Ford's also in on the action, hitching a ride on the solid-state bandwagon.
The pièce de résistance of their tech is a sulphide-based solid electrolyte, which will be produced automatically on the pilot line, aiming to crank out around 15,000 cells annually. And when these cells hit the series production stage in 2026, expect fireworks. We're talking about a cell with a gravimetric energy density of 390 Wh/kg with a silicon anode, and a whopping 440 Wh/kg with a lithium-metal anode.
In a nutshell, BMW's got a golden ticket to the future of driving, and with Solid Power's cells, they might just rewrite the rulebook on electric vehicles. Buckle up, because the road ahead is electrifying!