The Great Battery Convergence: 2025 Is Set to Be a Transformative Year for EVs
Is it only coincidence? EV and battery-makers are all heading towards the same basic strategy
If all goes according to plan, Gene Berdichevsky’s advanced batteries will be in electric BMWs and Daimlers in 2025, providing at least a 20% jump in energy density. With that juice, their EVs may cost substantially less, go further on each battery charge, or a little of both. To get there, Berdichevsky’s company, Sila Nanotechnologies, has just raised $590 million, with plans to build a battery plant with triple the capacity of Elon Musk’s iconic Nevada Gigafactory, and produce the first commercial silicon anode, an elusive leap sought for decades by researchers around the world.
But, in a much-overlooked convergence of economy-moving technology, Berdichevsky’s batteries will have company: GM says it, too, will have a souped-up EV battery in the middle of the decade, with much the same advantages touted by Sila. So does VW — in its case a cutting-edge lithium-metal battery made by QuantumScape, which promises delivery in 2024. Solid Power, another lithium-metal anode startup, is aiming its battery for 2026. All will still have to contend with juggernaut Tesla, which says a top-to-bottom transformation of its battery will be ready by 2023, although followers of the company know that such promises can slip by a couple of years or more.
By coincidence or design, the middle of the decade is shaping up as a transformative moment for new, ultrapowerful batteries. In a massive collision, battery-makers and automakers are promising breakthrough EVs all at roughly the same time, with the same promises — EVs that will cost around the same as conventional gasoline-driven vehicles, travel far greater distance, and charge fast.
This is no mere change of models. Until now, EVs have been dominated by flawed and half-baked vehicles, often or even mostly decidedly inferior to their combustion competition. Even Tesla, with by far the best-selling EVs on the planet, has veered toward getting its models out onto the road fast, and worried about quality control later. But at a faster and faster pace over the last year and in recent months, automaker after automaker has seemed to…