BMW has expanded a deal with U.S. startup Solid State to add an R&D license that will enable the automaker to begin prototype solid-state cell production at its Cell Manufacturing Competence Center in Parsdorf near Munich, the automaker said in a statement.
BMW will begin producing cells in the first half of this year, with a goal to develop battery cells large enough to test in a vehicle before 2025, Peter Lamp, BMW’s head of battery R&D, said in an interview.
Solid Power has development agreements with both BMW and Ford, which are also investors. If its technology meets certain performance targets, it could be considered for automotive supply contracts.
Solid Power is one of dozens of companies trying to reach the “holy grail” of battery innovation: a solid-state battery that can deliver longer range, faster charging times, reduced fire risk and lower cost.
Automakers and battery companies are betting they can achieve such a breakthrough by the end of the decade, but they still face steep hurdles to prove lab discoveries can be manufactured at scale.
“We have good teams on the Solid Power side, on the BMW side,” Lamp said. “If we move forward separately, it’s not the same speed as if we join forces.”
Based in Louisville, Colorado, Solid Power went public via a reverse merger in 2021.
Co-founder Doug Campbell stepped down as CEO in November, saying the company needed someone with more manufacturing expertise to lead it through its next phase.
David Jansen, a venture capitalist who is president and chairman of the company, is serving as interim CEO while it searches for a permanent replacement.
“We are well along in the process,” Jansen said. “The board is very excited.”