There has been a lot of talk among electric vehicle (EV) battery developers around the topic of semisolid-state and solid-state battery technology. Which is better for performance? Which is better for the environment? Which can we push into production faster?
In the beginning, solid-state batteries seemed to be the solution, and lots of money and research have been put into this technology. Solid-state batteries offer the potential for enhanced range, charging speed, and safety.
But now, semisolid-state batteries are gaining attention as a possible rival. What’s different about semisolid-state? These have a small amount of liquid or gel that creates rapid ion diffusion, which is crucial for charging an EV battery. They have less liquid content than lithium-ion batteries, making them an intriguing potential option for automakers.
Understanding the Divide
What’s the difference? Well, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte separator, which necessitates precise ion movement between the anode and cathode, but semi-solid-state batteries require less liquid or gel for easier ion transfer.
Some experts are arguing that the semisolid option is better because it is less complex and can be produced quicker than solid-state batteries.
While there is debate between the two battery types, both offer better safety and higher energy density than the current lithium-ion batteries. Solid-state appears to offer higher energy density, easier manufacturing, and closer proximity to existing production lines.
The Road Ahead
There are several startup companies like Factorial Energy, StoreDot, SES AI, Lyten, and QuantumScape that are working on producing semisolid-state batteries. These startups are backed by major automakers such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Honda, and Hyundai, who are interested in new technology that can offer faster production times and, in turn, a quicker time to market.
But other companies like SK On, Samsung SDI, and Toyota are committed to their plan for solid-state batteries and are shooting for market readiness by 2028.
The automotive industry is hopeful that a combination of semisolid and solid-state batteries will enter the market by the late 2020s and reshape the landscape by the early 2030s.