Despite Toyota's Slow Pace Solid State Batteries Are Not a False Hope
Ex-Tesla engineer says solid-state batteries are a false hope. Gene Berdichevsky. If you are not familiar with the name, he was the engineer in charge of the Tesla Roadster battery pack. After leaving Tesla, he started Sila Nanotechnologies and said SSBs are a “false hope.”
I still don’t see a big enough excuse to dismiss solid state batteries. QuantumScape is clearly showing proof of concept, and they have smart people to figure out the supply chain, I don’t believe this noise.
I saw a one very interesting comment under Torque News's above video, where the commenter wrote "a lot of companies are working on solid state batteries and there has been good progress over the last few years. They will not be an overnight game changer for sure because once they are ready, it will take some more years to build up production capacities and bring the price down. But I think they will gratually replace standard Li-Ion batteries over time for long range applications while the entry level market will go for LFP or other cheaper technologies."
But I want to also present you the view, shared by a long time Torque news EV contributor Dean McManis.
I don't think that solid state batteries present a false hope, but I also don't think that there is one single battery chemistry or technology that serves the growing demand for affordable batteries.
Despite Toyota's 1,000 solid state patents, I do not see them as a leader in the technology because they are not producing cars that use solid state batteries and Toyota's plans are to use them in hybrid vehicles first. This could be because Toyota cannot produce solid state batteries in enough quantity or at a low enough price to be competitive.
Still, besides Toyota's slow pace I am starting to see solid state batteries from various providers shipped to industry, which is a good sign that scaled commercial solid state batteries will be coming out within a year from now.
Most likely they will not be cost competitive with even NAC/NCM, let alone LFP batteries. And with ongoing technical improvements to those other battery chemistry technologies, solid state's advantages become fewer over time.
But there are huge markets that need battery solutions with different requirements. Consumer electronics, industrial solar PV storage, home battery storage, automobiles all have different requirements for production, use, cost, reliability, safety, flexibility, scalability, and recycling.
China still has the majority of control for LFP batteries and source materials. In fact, the Chinese battery giant and Tesla supplier CATL just announced a 430-mile new battery. So someone representing LFP interests is unlikely to present an unbiased view on the viability and market for solid state batteries. But it is OK to have multiple winners in battery technology, as the market is big and growing rapidly.
Please, let me know your opinion about solid-state batteries, their future in Toyota and Tesla vehicles.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.