Electric energy is making its way more and more strongly in the automotive field, however the biggest handicap found in this type of vehicle that is committed to a 100% electric source of energy is its batteries. Currently a new technology is beginning to be used by manufacturers in order to achieve more efficient batteries that can compete in autonomy with fuel-powered vehicles. These are the so-called solid state batteries.
Solid state batteries are an evolution of lithium ion batteries. So to understand how these solid state batteries work, we must first understand how lithium ion batteries work.
All batteries are made up of combined cells, these cells in turn are made up of three fundamental parts: the anode, the cathode and the electrolyte. The electrolyte usually uses a lithium salt that contains the ions necessary to carry out the reversible chemical reaction that occurs between the cathode and the anode.
As soon as the battery is charged and any device is connected to power it, the electrical circuit of the assembly is closed. Then a chemical reaction is activated that causes ionized particles to circulate from one electrode to another and dragging the production of electrons to the battery terminals. This is the time when the battery releases energy. By subsequently connecting a charge to the terminals, the reverse chemical process occurs, thus charging the battery.
After years of use and research on lithium batteries, they have practically run out of room for improvement, which is why if you want to continue improving the results in terms of battery efficiency, you should start betting on a new technology.
Solid-state batteries are based on the same principle, but unlike lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte in this case is solid rather than liquid. Research teams have been working on this technology for decades, testing different materials, but until very recently no one had achieved the necessary stability in batteries. Different manufacturers are experimenting with this type of solid state battery for cars and, although there is still a lot of secrecy around the materials used, they have made known the advantages that this new type of battery will bring.
The question is … If this type of solid state batteries offer so many advantages in cars, why are they not already on the market?
Solid state batteries is a new technology and therefore manufacturers are still investigating this type of battery on a large scale and at a low cost, since currently their production would be too expensive to be able to implement them in the market.
Until recently, this type of technology was not expected for about a decade. However, a strong investment by large brands such as Toyota, BMW, Tesla, Ford, Samsung, Volkswagen, Hyundai, etc. You can make this technological revolution come much earlier than anticipated.
The development of solid state batteries is in an advanced stage and some brands are very close to their incorporation into their products. Toyota plans to be the first company to put solid-state battery electric cars on the market. The scheduled date for this is 2022 with a prototype of the brand that can be seen soon.
These vehicles are expected to have a range of more than twice the range of current electric cars powered by conventional lithium-ion batteries. This would not imply any loss of interior space even in the most compact vehicles.
Lithium-ion batteries are reaching their limit of efficiency and, when it comes to the automotive market, more efficient batteries are still needed to compete with cars powered by a combustion engine. Solid batteries can cause a revolution in the market due to their great number of advantages, but for this, companies must ensure that their production is profitable and viable in the markets.