Most of the major lithium battery manufacturers are developing cells with a solid electrolyte, and young companies with a similar profile are ready to compete with them. Samsung SDI is one step closer to mass producing next-generation batteries as it has started building a pilot line in the appropriate profile.
Accordingly Business Koreathe South Korean company Samsung SDI laid the foundation stone for a pilot production line in Suwon on a 6,500 m plot of land2, where it wants to start the production of batteries with a solid electrolyte. Electrodes and the electrolyte are manufactured here and battery cells are assembled. Until now, Samsung SDI has been producing prototypes of new batteries literally in one-offs in its laboratories.
Samsung SDI relies on sulfide-based solid electrolytes. Compared to polymer oxide electrolytes, they offer faster charge rates and mass production capability. Solid-state traction batteries are less prone to overheating and fire, can replenish their charge more quickly, and offer higher storage densities.
Competitors LG Energy Solution and SK On are developing their own solid-state batteries, but they won’t be mass-produced until 2030. There are many young companies in this area that want to offer their own solid-state batteries with the support of major car manufacturers. Volkswagen is promoting QuantumScape, which promises to bring solid-state batteries to market in 2024 at the earliest. Solid Power is backed by BMW and Ford Motor, who are expected to use the brand’s solid-state batteries in mass-produced electric vehicles by 2025. In the same period, SES, which receives investments from Hyundai Motor and General Motors, is preparing to offer similar batteries.
In parallel, Samsung SDI is reforming its business in China. The company refuses to assemble traction batteries in the country and only focuses on battery cell production. It was previously reported that Samsung SDI has developed its own alternative to the 4680 cells advertised by Panasonic and Tesla, but the Korean company’s solution has slightly different overall dimensions. Samsung SDI supplies traction batteries to many automakers, including Rivian, but talks with the latter about a joint venture recently broke down.