By then, the energy density of lithium batteries could reach 500 Wh/kg, providing EVs with two to three times the range of liquid lithium batteries and tying the range of fuel vehicles, TrendForce said.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

As car companies accelerate investment and research in solid-state batteries, all-solid-state batteries with highly active materials are expected to begin mass production around 2030-2035, market research firm TrendForce said in a report today.

By then, the energy density of lithium batteries can reach 500 Wh/kg, providing electric vehicles (EVs) with a range that will be two to three times that of liquid lithium batteries, tying the range of fuel vehicles, the report said.

Currently, new energy vehicles (NEVs) mainly use liquid lithium batteries, which are divided into two main categories, nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP), due to different cathode materials, and their energy densities are approaching their respective limits, TrendForce noted.

EVs equipped with NCM batteries now have a range of about 500-600 km, while those equipped with LFP batteries have a range of about 300-500 km, which is still a far cry from the 600-1,200 km range of fuel-efficient vehicles, the report said.

Although introducing higher-capacity cathode and anode materials is a way to increase battery capacity, more active materials may pose a higher risk of thermal runaway during charging and discharging when paired with Li-ion batteries with traditional liquid electrolytes, TrendForce said.

In contrast, solid-state electrolytes are structurally more stable and can prevent battery short circuits, making them the best battery solution for both safety and energy density.

According to the different materials, there are three technology routes for solid-state electrolytes: sulfide, oxide, and polymer, and the types of batteries are divided into semi-solid-state and all-solid-state batteries according to the weight of the liquid electrolyte.

Considering the energy density, charging and discharging efficiency and safety requirements of NEVs, sulfide and oxide are considered the most suitable materials for solid-state batteries for NEVs, TrendForce said.

Japanese automakers are currently focusing on the sulfide route, with Toyota having many patents in the field and a joint venture with Panasonic to develop solid-state batteries, the report noted.

Toyota recently announced that it will be mass-producing all-solid-state battery vehicles in 2027, making it the fastest-paced of the Japanese automakers, the report said.

European and American automakers are involved in all three technology routes, with Mercedes-Benz one of the major investors in ProLogium Technology, which expects to launch NEVs with solid-state batteries in 2025.

Chinese automakers are focusing on the oxide route and are already mass-producing semi-solid batteries, TrendForce said, adding that (NYSE: NIO), Dongfeng Motor and Seres are expected to launch EVs with semi-solid batteries as soon as this year, making them the world's fastest installers of semi-solid batteries.

The energy density of semi-solid-state batteries is about 300~400 Wh/kg, which is still significantly different from that of all-solid-state batteries, the report said.

Although a few companies are making relatively fast progress on solid-state batteries, such batteries generally still have technical and cost issues to overcome, so mass production and vehicle installation times remain to be seen, TrendForce said.

Nio unveiled its 150-kWh semi-solid-state battery when it launched its flagship sedan, the Nio ET7, at the Nio Day 2020 event on January 9, 2021, claiming that it could give the vehicle a range of more than 1,000 kilometers.

Since then, the battery's delivery schedule has been delayed several times, and Nio only filed for the use of the pack in its models in early May of this year.

On May 24, at the launch event for the new ES6, Nio founder, chairman, and CEO William Li announced that the 150-kWh semisolid battery pack would be in service in July.

On June 30, Beijing WeLion New Energy Technology, a supplier of the semi-solid battery, began delivering 360 Wh/kg lithium-ion battery cells to Nio and held a delivery ceremony in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, where its manufacturing base is located.

Earlier this month, Nio updated the user manuals for its vehicles to include the 150-kWh battery pack.

The 150-kWh pack weighs 575 kg, which is 20 kg, or 3.6 percent, higher than the 555 kg of Nio's 100-kWh pack, according to information in those user manuals.

The pack's energy density of 261 Wh/kg is 44.44 percent higher than the 100-kWh pack's 180 Wh/kg.

Nio's user manuals now include 150-kWh battery as delivery nears