Published on April 3rd, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart
April 3rd, 2018 by Nicolas Zart
Solid-state lithium battery research and development is red hot, and all puns unintended, the aim is not only raising the energy density of batteries but also controlling or avoiding the thermal runaway problems found in earlier chemistries.
A123 Systems Continues To Innovate With Solid State
It’s funny to think that we’ve been typing the words “A123 Systems” for a decade. Back then, the company’s cells were used in the amazing electric motorcycle (e-motorcycle) dragster called the KillaCycle. Since then, much has happened and changed at the batterymaker, and this latest announcement shows it is still going forward and pushing electric vehicles (EV) into the limelight.
Solid-state batteries theoretically promise more energy density and also more thermal tolerance, which means less likelihood of a fire. In the latest series of strategic investments from A123, this one in Ionic Materials, a company that develops material technology, means A123 has access to a unique polymer electrolyte that allows for higher levels of safety and performance in batteries.
The A123 press release adds: “A123 will work jointly with Ionic Materials to apply their respective innovations in materials, cell design and manufacturing to achieve new levels of safety in high performing batteries for plug-in electric vehicles. A123 looks forward to commercializing the polymer electrolyte technology of Ionic Materials in new products which substantially extend the breadth of the company’s cell portfolio. This move further establishes A123’s commitment to targeted innovation in energy storage technologies which provide exceptional electric driving range at a highly competitive cost”
A123 Systems Sees The Future With Solid Polymer Electrolyte
A123 Systems is betting on the future potential of what solid polymer electrolytes can achieve, with reported advances so far being significant advances in electrolyte/battery operating temperature. Another promising finding is that the material is compatible with other electrodes.
According to Mike Zimmerman, Founder and CEO of Ionic Materials, “We are excited to work with A123 and feel that their scientific talent and automotive relationships will accelerate the adoption of our technology in electric vehicles globally.” Patrick Hurley, Chief Technical Officer of A123, added, “We see the future moving quickly toward us and are eager to lead the adoption of solid-state technology among the world’s leading automotive OEMs.”
Contrary to gasoline and diesel, batteries are continually getting lighter, more energy dense, and more affordable to boot, but solid-state electrolytes are the way to go if we want to squeeze a lot more performance out of out lithium chemistries.
It’s too bad we are still years away from commercialization, but as soon as these solid-state lithium batteries become available, EVs will continue the Apple path of faster, more powerful, better … for the same price. And, hopefully, we will finally get significantly more affordable normal commuters.