Bosch says solid state battery will double electric car range

German electronics firm Bosch says it will have a solid state battery on the market by 2020 that will double the range of electric cars at half the cost of today’s batteries. “Bosch is using its knowledge and considerable financial resources to achieve a breakthrough for electromobility,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Recently, Bosch purchased Seeo, a California start-up battery company. Seeo says it has come up with a new way to make lithium batteries without a liquid electrolyte. The batteries need no cooling system and won’t catch on fire the way a traditional lithium ion battery can. They are also significantly lighter and cost less to manufacture.

“Solid electrolytes have a number of potential advantages; the one Seeo has developed uses pure lithium, which allows it to store more energy,” said Kevin Bullis in MIT Technology Review. “Other companies have developed batteries with solid electrolytes and pure lithium, but their energy storage capacity – at least for the large batteries needed in electric cars – has typically been less than what Seeo has achieved.”

There is only one drawback. The Seeo battery operates at a temperature of 178 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not need a cooling system but it definitely needs a heating system.  At least it will if it is going to be used in electric vehicles. Bosch obviously believes it can overcome that obstacle and make the new battery commercially viable; we won’t know if that is true for several years.

There are plenty of companies who say they have the next big thing in batteries waiting in the wings. Some will succeed while others fail. If Bosch can pull this off, it could become the dominant battery maker in a very lucrative market. Lighter, more powerful, and cheaper batteries could go a long way toward making electric vehicles acceptable to mainstream drivers.

Posted by Steve Hanley

Steve Hanley is a car nut and Formula One addict who occasionally drives his Mazda MX-5 on track at HPDE events. He has been known to drive to Nova Scotia just to see the lupins in bloom or to Watkins Glen for a weekend of historic racing. He writes about automobiles, technology and travel from his home in Rhode Island.

  1. Why not use it in a hybrid? Use the heat from the ICE to warm the batteries.

    Reply

    1. That’s an idea. They could also use electricity drawn from a charger while plugged in. BMW i3 drivers in cold climates already do that to “precondition” their cars.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

  2. Half what cost? $400/kwh that is often bandied about or the $180/kWh that Tesla was paying last October for Panasonic cells. Those cells should be closer to $100/kWh by 2020.

    And twice what capacity? Are they comparing themselves to Tesla at 375 Wh/kg or a lower capacity battery? And how much might batteries like the Panasonic/Tesla cell improve over the next five years? Average improvement has been running 7% a year. Based on that the P/T cells would be about 40% higher capacity by 2020.

    Too little information….

    Reply

    1. I agree, But it is all the information we have, unfortunately.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

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