Batteries have rapidly become the backbone of various technological developments since their inception.
Battery technology is constantly iterating on its path to lighter, faster, and safer for the energy reserve unit, which is the direction of development from lead-acid to lithium-ion batteries, and lithium-ion to solid-state batteries.
Development of solid-state battery technology
In 2022, Taiwan’s Gogoro unveiled what is said to be the world’s first detachable and replaceable solid-state lithium-ceramic battery for two-wheelers, such as e-bike.
In addition, a new study debunks a long-held assumption that adding some liquid electrolytes to improve performance would make solid-state batteries unsafe, and instead finds that solid-state batteries are more powerful and safe than traditional lithium-ion chemistry.
Aston Martin and Britishvolt have signed an agreement to develop a new high-performance battery cell technology.
Meanwhile, industry concerns around the electric vehicle supply chain continue to grow.
While solid-state battery technology is still relatively unproven, many traditional automakers, including Toyota and Volkswagen, have invested heavily in solid-state battery devices.
Meanwhile, electric scooter maker Gogoro has unveiled a prototype solid-state lithium-ceramic battery for two-wheeler battery swapping.
The prototype was developed in conjunction with ProLogium, a company specialising in solid-state batteries, which recently partnered with German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz to develop a series of passenger cars powered by this type of battery.
Gogoro’s solid-state battery is being touted as the first of its kind in the world, with a capacity estimated at 2.5kWh, which is far superior to current detachable replacement batteries that use lithium ion technology and liquid.
The news of the launch of this prototype is particularly important for the Chinese Taiwan market, as Gogoro’s battery swap service will power 95% of all electric two-wheelers.
Gogoro’s new prototype can be integrated with the manufacturer’s existing vehicle and battery split-and-swap network, which consists of 10,000 battery split-and-swap stations at more than 2,300 locations serving more than 450,000 riders.
According to the manufacturer, its number of battery split-and-swap stations nearly matches the number of petrol pumps here and is expected to surpass the latter in the near future.
A study led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) debunked a long-held assumption that adding some liquid electrolyte to a solid-state battery would make it unsafe.
Instead, the team found that in many cases, a small amount of liquid electrolyte does not affect the safety of solid-state batteries and can, in turn, solve one of the major problems with this chemistry – the solid-electrolyte intermediate phase – meaning that adding a bit of liquid electrolyte can dramatically improve performance while being negligible, which could help bridge the gap to commercialization in the electric vehicle and energy storage industries.
It’s often claimed that solid-state batteries are safer than lithium-ion batteries, and SNL’s study found this to be true in the event that an external heat source fails.
However, when the researchers explored the upper limits of heat release and temperature rise in several battery-level failure scenarios and battery configurations, they also found that lithium-metal-anode solid-state batteries are not necessarily safer in short-circuit failure scenarios or when the integrity of the solid electrolyte is compromised.
What’s more, in configurations involving lithium-metal anodes, they found that solid-state batteries experienced higher temperature rises than lithium-ion batteries, as the former produced the same amount of heat in a smaller mass and volume.
Today, the most mature technology in batteries is lead-acid batteries. The most widely used are lithium-ion batteries, and the most potential for development should be solid-state batteries.
Although it is still in the research and development stage, it has the advantages that the first two generations of battery technology are incomparable, or perhaps you can say that solid-state batteries are the next generation of battery technology.
The emergence of lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, cameras, handheld video cameras and even electric vehicles, such as electric bike batteries and other fields from now on into the era of portable new energy, but also completely changed our lives.
But the development of technology will not stop, lithium batteries exist in flammable, easy to short-circuit and other safety hazards will eventually be eliminated by the new technology.
Advantages of solid-state batteries
At Eurobike 2023, Stromer will showcase its ceramic solid-state battery for e-bikes, the first solid-state battery in the cycling industry, which is said to reduce charging time to less than 20 minutes.
Stromer’s ultimate goal is to use this technology to create battery packs with a charging time of just 12 minutes, which means that every time you go out and go to the bathroom, the bike will be half full of power.
That means every time you go to the bathroom, the bike will be half-charged, a technological leap from the seven to eight hours it takes to recharge a battery today.
Of course, Stromer’s boldness is also due to the advantages of solid-state batteries.
Solid-state batteries do not have liquid electrolyte inside, it is the use of solid-state electrodes and solid-state electrolyte composition, with lower power density, high energy density, small size, flexible, higher safety performance advantages.
Since solid-state batteries have no liquid electrolytes, they avoid flammable and explosive, volatile, and short circuits caused by electrolytes, etc.
Even if you encounter a needle piercing through the electrolyte’s insulation membrane, spontaneous combustion will not occur as in the case of liquid-state batteries.
This shift from liquid to solid electrolytes is important because it eliminates some of the biggest problems found in more commonly used lithium batteries, such as high flammability, risk of thermal runaway, and toxic leakage.
It’s an all-around performance upgrade.
Solid-state batteries are seen as the future direction of battery technology with higher safety, smaller size and faster charging speeds, so much so that major manufacturers have invested a lot of money in research and development of solid-state battery related technologies.
For example, automakers such as Toyota and BMW and battery companies such as Panasonic and Samsung have been working on solid-state technology research for electric vehicles, and there have been some EV companies that have formally applied it to their cars, but because of the high cost, it has not yet been widely popularized.
Stromer’s introduction of solid-state batteries from production also took a few years.
Technology has been successfully developed, but there is still a need to reduce the cost to everyday consumers within an affordable range.
Currently, solid-state batteries cost about eight times as much to produce as current lithium-ion batteries, so don’t expect to see solid-state batteries in use until battery prices drop even further, which Stromer expects to happen in the next two to three years.
Meanwhile, Stromer’s solid-state batteries have the added advantage of being stable in extreme temperatures, with Stromer claiming they can be recharged at just -20 degrees Celsius, a figure that could reach -30 degrees Celsius in the future.
Advantages such as better safety, smaller size, lower cost, and improved energy density have made solid-state batteries the target of intense research and development by battery manufacturers and vehicle companies around the world, and have also made solid-state batteries the new vane of the market.
Imagine that your e-bike equipped with this kind of batteries, e-bike battery safety issues will be greater protection?
Although solid-state batteries have many advantages, the market outlook is very good, but due to various problems such as solid-state battery technology and processes, there is still some time to go before large-scale commercialization.