Ford Motor is increasing its investment in EV battery start-up Solid Power with hopes of starting to integrate the next-generation batteries into its electric vehicles by the end of this decade.
Ford, which initially invested in the company in 2019, led a $130 million funding round in Solid Power with BMW and Venture capital firm Volta Energy Technologies, the companies announced Monday.
Solid Power makes so-called solid-state batteries, which don’t use the liquid electrolyte found in the conventional lithium-ion batteries currently used to power most electric vehicles. The batteries can be lighter, with greater energy density that provides more range at a lower cost. But they are currently more costly than lithium-ion batteries and early in development.
Under the new agreement, Ford and BMW will receive automotive-capable battery cells from Solid Power for testing and integration into its future vehicles starting next year. The Series B investment round will allow the company to expand in-house manufacturing capabilities and positions, Solid Power CEO Doug Campbell said in a release.
Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, said the automaker believes the industry will start transitioning from lithium-ion batteries to solid state over the next decade. He declined to disclose Ford’s total investment in solid-state batteries but said it’s “significantly smaller” than lithium-ion at this time.
“We think it’s realistic that by the end of this decade, there’s a good chance that this is something we can go into production with,” he told CNBC during an interview.