Mercedes-Benz is developing a new and pioneering solid-state battery to use in its upcoming electric vehicles. The German carmaker has teamed up with the Canadian battery expert, Hydro-Québec, and they aspire to have a product ready soon. The latter has made huge strides in the field of solid-state batteries during the last couple of years, so Mercedes-Benz is hoping that they will help them enjoy a big market boost against its competitors.
Solid-state batteries come with a rich set of advantages over the Li-ion solutions that are widely used today. First, they offer a much higher density, of more than 400 Wh per liter. Secondly, they degrade slower, so they can perform for longer and last for more charging cycles. Thirdly, they weigh less per liter, which is of critical importance when we’re talking about batteries that sit on the bottom of cars. And finally, there’s the safety factor, as solid-state batteries don’t require the presence of flammable electrolytes, and thus they don’t constitute a fire risk.
For Mercedes-Benz, the fact that the chemical composition which they have co-developed with Hydro-Québec doesn’t contain any cobalt is also very important too. Sourcing the “blue gold” from China is an increasingly nastier headache for them, and everyone else in the EV manufacturing industry, so cutting the umbilical cord with them would be great from a business perspective.
The problem remains the fact that the technology is still not ready for deployment. VW is also trying to roll out their own solid-state batteries, and they have partnered with the Chinese battery giant Ganfeng to achieve this feat. To catch up with VW’s efforts, tens of Mercedes-Benz engineers are working together with those of Hydro-Québec’s labs in France and Canada, trying to accelerate the development progress as much as possible.
Image: CNW Group/Hydro-Québec