Solid-state batteries hold tremendous potential and big challenges

Solid-state battery technology is the electric vehicle Holy Grail. Or is it?
Most analysts predict solid-state battery tech will begin to trickle into showrooms inside advanced electric vehicles sometime next decade. The problem, some experts say, is that solid-state shortcomings and manufacturing difficulties present a colossal challenge. There are three companies leading the way to confront this challenge: Sakti3, Planar Energy and hybrid-extraordinaire Toyota.

In theory, solid-state batteries are more stable than current li-ion tech and weigh significantly less. If they can be made to work affordably, solid-state batteries could be the breakthrough that electric vehicles need to transform them from urban runabouts to everyday rides for a majority of drivers.

Scott Faris, chief executive officer of Planar Energy, says his firm has identified a solid-state electrolyte that could forever change the automotive industry:
This fundamental materials breakthrough, coupled with our proprietary low-cost manufacturing process, will render traditional chemical batteries obsolete. It will allow solid-state battery fabrication that will enable manufacturers to increase their capacity by 200 to 300 percent, while reducing costs more than 50 percent.
Bill Wallace, General Motors' director of global battery systems engineering, states:
Though risky, we do believe that solid-state lithium ion batteries have merit and we are working on their development. We see them on a potential five-year time horizon, assuming certain significant shortcomings can be resolved.
Five years? That's awful soon. But not everyone suggests holding your breath quite yet. Jon Bereisa, chief executive officer of consulting firm Auto Lectrification, doesn't expect solid-state technology to be ready to go primetime until 2025.

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