[Image above] Fisker’s prototype electric vehicle, Emotion, which will reportedly be powered by novel solid-state battery tech. Credit: Fisker
Did you see the cover story of the December issue of the ACerS Bulletin?
In the article, we delved deep into the global automotive manufacturing industry—worth an estimated $4 trillion—to show just how significant a role ceramic and glass materials play in this evolving industry.
Spoiler alert: it’s significant.
And the auto industry is evolving in big ways, thanks to a handful of major influences that include technology integration, lightweighting efforts, and the emergence of electric and autonomous vehicles.
Electric vehicles are predicted to begin pulling an increasingly robust segment of the automotive market away from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Improvements in the technology, reductions in cost, and increasing public acceptance—factors that all go hand-in-hand—are contributing to a growing momentum for electric vehicles that really does seem to be translating into a critical mass.
Case in point: yet another company is reportedly coming out with a new electric vehicle that boasts that it is a “game-changer.”
Electric car maker Fisker has plans to use a new solid-state battery technology to drive its electric vehicles to offer vast improvements over driving range, charging time, energy density, and battery cost.
And the cars don’t look half bad, either.
Credit: Fisker Inc.; Vimeo
The company recently filed patents for its development, “flexible solid state technology,” which can provide its Emotion model vehicles with a reported 500-mile range. Tesla’s best, the Model S 100D, gets an estimated 335 miles in its range.
But the even bigger perk is that the company says it can be charged in just minutes. Tesla’s best rate, at its Supercharger stations, is a half-hour to fully charged.
Of course, details about the seemingly revolutionary materials and workings behind this technology are scant. So is it all smoke and mirrors?
The company does say that it has developed a working prototype of the battery, designed with 3-D electrodes that provide 2.5-times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, according to a Designboom article.
And in an interview with Fox Business, Fisker owner Henrik Fisker says that his company’s solid-state battery uses less cobalt than conventional batteries, allowing the company to reduce the battery’s manufacturing costs to one-third that of conventional (presumably lithium-ion) batteries.
But we know there’s a lot of steps in between a lab prototype and a commercial product, which Fisker predicts could be ready for the automotive industry in the next 4–5 years.
The company is marching forward with brining its technology to market, however. It’s already accepting pre-orders for its $130,000 Emotion vehicle. And to enable such blistering fast charging times, Fisker also says that his company is next developing a commercial “ultra charger” to charge the battery in the minutes that it says is possible.
Only time will tell if Fisker can actually deliver, but one promising indication is that the company’s battery team is headed by a cofounder of solid-state battery company Sakti3, which is now owned by Dyson—who’s also working on its own electric vehicle.
Fisker plans to debut the car prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Although it says that the tech won’t be poised for mass automotive production until after 2023, it could find its way into smaller electronic devices sooner.
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