I have been reporting on battery evolution for a while and the reason is that the are a crucial stepping stone for the evolution of several areas, from sensors in the environment to electric cars, form implants in our body to better wireless communications. I remember long time ago, I was part of the Fistera project, aiming at identifying the most effective points (subject and geography) for investment in research thus supporting the European Commission in deciding “where and how” to invest.
One of the result of the project was the identification of batteries as an area that would yield better returns over investment because of the many other areas it would impact, accelerating their evolution. Policy makers have been following up on that result investing significant money, over half a billion € in the Horizon 2020 program.
I included a little clip from Samsung that in announcing their breakthrough on solid state battery also make a nice recap on the evolution we have seen so far.
Lithium-ion batteries are the best one we have today and are at the core of all our portable electronics. We even know that they could be much better if just we could use metallic solid lithium rather than the little pellets used today. The problem is that metallic solid lithium can explode (we are already facing this problem with present batteries that sometimes are faulty and explode).
Now QuantumScape has announced they found a solution to this and other related problems and that they are on the way to produce in industrial volume solid state batteries and their partner Volkswagen can use pure metallic lithium batteries for their electric vehicles starting in 2025. This would really be a game changer. The steps that need to be taken is to move from the QuantuScape single cell used in their lab to multilayer layer battery able to pack the huge amount of energy needed by an electric vehicle. It is not a sure thing but according to QuantumScape the road is well defined.