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Solid State Update: Chinese Company Has Massive Breakthrough

A new material that the University of Science and Technology of China developed shows much promise in helping solid-state battery technology become commercially viable sooner. Here is what we know.
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When we think of the future for battery technology, solid-state seems like a pipe dream. Even with Toyota making as much headway with their promise on it, nothing is on the market right now that uses the famed "savior of EV" technology.

Solid state battery

One of the ongoing problems with solid-state is the cost of production coupled with the longevity. Even with breakthroughs from Samsung that utilize a special lining to increase battery life, we still do not see this battery tech being used. But after recent news from the University of Science and Technology of China, all that could change, and fast.

What Is The Breakthrough?
New material was developed called lithium zirconium chloride. The benefits of this material are cost, performance, and stability. All of the significant issues with solid-state come from these three factors.

Solid state battery layers from samsung

The batteries have gone through several types of experimentation, including materials, electrolytes, and cathodes. The most significant hurdle is the cost of production.

Currently, solid-state battery production costs $23.05/m², and with this new material, that cost per square meter would be lowered to $1.38m². This is revolutionary for bringing this technology to market.

Other Notable Mentions
Zirconium is one of the materials used in this new solid-state battery. The material is found in abundance, which helps with cost-effective production and scalability.

Conclusion
While we do not see solid-state battery tech in full swing, I believe these massive breakthroughs will allow us to get there faster. More people are seeing the help that solid-state will provide in the transition to an EV dominant future.

Costs are always a concern and longevity, but if this university in China says they have solved the problem, we need to put it to the test.

I would love to see solid-state batteries be available for new cars and older hybrids that need new batteries. This would help offset the carbon footprint we currently make with lithium-ion and other lithium-type products that use cobalt.

That is all for today. Thank you for reading, and remember, Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story.

Here is a first look at the 2013 Toyota Prius V repower battery swap I did a couple of weeks ago.

Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.

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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.


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Comments

Name of company or university? Totally didn't mention any. Is it a company or university?
I agree is it a company or a University, the separator shown doesn't show zirconium, it shows cobalt and silver, how can it be a massive breakthrough if Quantumscape has synthesized their own ceramic separator that works and is also made from abundant resources. "Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), which is also referred to as zirconium oxide or zirconia, is an inorganic metal oxide that is mainly used in ceramic materials." Quantumscape is keeping the "secret sauce" of their separator a closely guarded secret.. Hmmm..
University of Science and Technology of China
There are pretty much weekly announced "breakthroughs" in battery technologies made by universities and battery makers. And it is exciting to hear about battery technology development, and new materials and test findings. But the truth is that the vast majority of these research projects cannot be scaled up to mass battery production and match (let alone beat) current mass market batteries today in terms of price and capability. It seems to me that there should be an eternal "Watch This Space" sign shown as a warning that these are only experimental work right now, and may never be able to leave the lab, let alone threaten existing industries. Quantumscape is certainly farther along in this area with working prototypes built and tested, and they "just" need to scale up production, cost effectively. But the time frame for this work is likely somewhere between a year or two up to...never. Even though I may sound jaded and very skeptical, I am actually very hopeful that the increased increase in BEV interest will support R&D and produce superior electrical storage technologies over the next 5 years. But I will truly have to see ANY of these new products mass produced at competitive prices, AND installed in BEVs, before I jump on the bandwagon of pronouncing any new battery breakthrough.