A Revolutionary Battery

Solid-state batteries are so-named because they contain solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, unlike other batteries that have both in liquid form. Research and development of solid-state batteries came about because of the desire to improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries, which are still the most common type used in today's computers, smartphones, and even electric vehicles (EVs).

As such, a solid-state battery could potentially offer a better source of power for electric cars, and EV startup Fisker claims that they have the technology at hand. According to a report by GreenCarCongress, Fisker filed a patent this week for "flexible, superior energy density solid-state batteries."

The new battery would feature a three-dimensional solid electrodes that provide 2.5 times the energy density of current li-ion batteries. On an EV, this translates to a range of over 804 kilometers (500 miles) using a single charge, Fisker claims. Plus, charging time would be cut down to just one minute. In terms of costs, Fikser said it could cost only a third of the 2020 projected price of typical li-ion batteries thanks to advances in materials and manufacturing.

"This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies," Fisker battery systems VP Fabio Albano said in a comment quoted by GreenCarcCongress. "We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage."

Solid Claims?

Solid-state batteries are considered to be safer than li-ions, albeit with limited temperature ranges and electrode current density. However, as Electrek notes, these are generally expected to be more expansive than current li-ion cells, despite Fisker claiming otherwise. To lower the costs, Fisker could resort to wounding solid-state electrodes in cylindrical cells with a voltage output that's higher than today's batteries, while allowing for the use of existing tooling and machinery for battery packs.

How solid are Fisker's claims, though?

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At the very least, it seems the company knows what it's doing. Fisker's team of scientists have supposedly been working with a co-founder of solid-state battery startup Sakti3, GreenCarCongress reports. Furthermore, the company expects to have their solid-state electrode technology ready for use in EVs by 2023. That's well after Fisker releases the Fisker Motion luxury EV, set to be launched at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January, where the carmaker would also display this new battery technology.

Fisker isn't the first to dabble into solid-state batteries, and most haven't really resulted into commercial use. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Samsung have previously announced a similar work. That was back in 2015, and there hasn't been an update on it since. More recently, a team that included John Goodenough —one of the engineers that actually worked on developing li-ion batteries— also announced the development of a solid-state cell.

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