IM Motors Teases Solid-State EV Battery, CATL Not Convinced

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Simply while you thought the EV information cycle was slowing down, right here comes the Chinese language startup IM Motors with information of a brand new EV sporting a production-ready solid-state battery, able to roll off the meeting line. In the meantime Robert Zeng, founder and chairman of the main Chinese language EV battery agency CATL, claps again together with his ideas concerning the state of solid-state know-how. Maintain on to your hats…

Robert Zeng: Strong-State Battery Expertise Is Coming, Finally

CleanTechnica has heard a lot speak of solid-state EV battery know-how over time, the thought being that at the moment’s standard liquid-electrolyte EV batteries are due for a makeover. A battery with a solid electrolyte is trickier to formulate, however the payoff is faster charging, longer range, and improved security.

Different advantages can embrace a provide chain with fewer (or no) hazardous supplies, and improved efficiencies in end-of-life dealing with (see tons extra CleanTechnica solid-state coverage here).

As one of many world’s main EV battery innovators, CATL (brief for Modern Amperex Expertise Co., Restricted) is a daily function right here at CleanTechnica. Nevertheless, until there’s one thing we don’t learn about, the corporate has no plans to introduce a solid-state battery any time quickly. Two years in the past, the corporate suggested {that a} solid-state EV battery would not be ready for prime time till 2035, or maybe later.

That doesn’t imply CATL is standing nonetheless when it comes to EV battery enhancements. Semi-solid know-how is already on the desk, for instance. Final week, CleanTechnica editor Zach Shahan additionally noticed that CATL is working with the battery-swapping firm NIO on growing the lifespan of a swappable EV battery.

“After all, everybody and their brother is engaged on solid-state batteries,” Shahan concluded.

Which may be so, however Robert Zeng lit the Intertubes on fireplace earlier this week, after Monetary Instances reported that “China’s ‘battery king’ dismisses EV battery commercialisation as years away” — that means Zeng, after all.

That’s the headline. The story is behind a paywall, although you could find excerpts by means of different sources. The gist of it’s that Zeng anticipates a real solid-state EV battery ultimately, however for now a “condensed matter” semi-solid chemistry — such because the one launched by CATL final yr — represents a major enchancment within the discipline.

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IM Motors: We Too Are Launching A Manufacturing-Prepared Strong-State EV Battery!

That brings us to IM Motors. The corporate was based in 2020 because the A-list model of China’s state-owned SAIC, which additionally holds the MG nameplate in its roster.

Only one yr later, in 2021, IM Motors launched its L7 electrical automobile into orbit at Auto Shanghai, billing it as a “new development of intelligent electric luxury vehicles.”

There was nothing within the press package a few solid-state battery, however there have been loads of bells and whistles.

“As IM Motors’ flagship automobile mannequin for main superior clever automobiles, the L7 operates on the baseline logic of ‘information figuring out expertise, whereas software program defining automobiles’ within the period of AI,” the corporate defined.

“A newly constructed clever driving system, gorgeous supercar efficiency, an distinctive personalized driver’s seat and 5G social media talents, are all a few of the properties that make this clever automobile luxurious. They fully redefine the expectations of a automobile within the ‘Clever Period,’” they added.

The solid-state battery lastly popped up in February of this yr, when Motor Authority reporter Viknesh Vijayenthiran reported the debut of the L6 compact sedan.

“Chinese language auto large SAIC used this week’s 2024 Geneva auto present to debut the L6 compact sedan, the most recent mannequin from its newly established model IM,” Vijayenthiran wrote.

“IM was brief on particulars for the L6 however stated not less than one model will ship 0-62 mph acceleration in lower than three seconds,” Vijayenthiran added. “There will likely be a normal lithium-ion battery and an accessible solid-state battery.”

Citing an organization spokesperson, Vijayenthiran additionally reported that each batteries are “anticipated to be accessible on the 2025 launch.”

Ummm… About That Manufacturing-Prepared Strong-State Battery…

That sounds fairly definitive, however the satan could also be within the particulars. Earlier this week, Car News China was amongst these reporting that these particulars won’t be accessible for an additional week or so.

“IM Motors declare that the L6, because of launch in Might, will include the trade’s first mass-produced ultra-fast charging stable state battery,” Automotive Information China reporter Mark Andrews reported on March 25. “Extra particulars will likely be introduced on the IM L6 Expertise Convention on April 8 however we already know that the brand new battery will likely be 130 kWh.”

“The cathode (constructive electrode) is coated with ultra-high nickel materials with the anode (unfavourable) being a brand new technology of high-specific power composite silicon carbon materials,” Andrews noticed, with a “patented self-developed nano-scale” electrolyte to finish the image.

“Moreover, the electrolyte makes use of dry stable layer built-in molding with the resultant battery having decreased inside resistance that means ultra-fast charging is feasible,” he added.

Automotive Information China added a cautionary observe to the article, wherein an unattributed editor acknowledged: “We are going to clearly have to attend till April 8 for extra particulars however the truth that there may be at the moment no MIIT itemizing for a variant of the IM L6 geared up with the battery might point out manufacturing remains to be a while off.”

“IM declare that the stable state battery is supposed to have a excessive power density however the important thing will likely be how heavy the battery really is on condition that at 130 kWh the capability is sort of excessive. Success can also be depending on how a lot it’ll price to supply the battery and whether or not the automobile may be bought at a value which makes it worthwhile to buy,” the editor continued.

The Semi-Strong Resolution

Fascinating! Semi-solid state batteries may be accommodated by current EV battery manufacturing strains, which is one cause why auto trade observers are coalescing across the view that semi-solid know-how is readier to roll than solid-state know-how.

The Israeli EV battery startup StoreDot is amongst these pitching semi-solid know-how. Again in 2022, StoreDot CTO Daniel Aronov posted a long-form article explaining the corporate’s determination to focus on semi-solid technology for ultra-fast charging right here and now, with all-solid state batteries someplace off sooner or later.

“The answer lies within the mixture of the benefits of solid state electrolyte (comparable to catholyte and anolyte), whereas sustaining a small liquid or gel type of electrolyte that permits for a greater move of the ions between the cathode and anode, and mitigates the important challenge of solid-to-solid interface that in any other case holds too excessive of resistance,” he concluded.

Nonetheless, hope springs everlasting, and new developments are cropping up virtually by the minute. Within the newest information, the EU’s multi-agency venture HELENA reached a milestone for its new solid-state EV battery sporting a halide electrolyte with a lithium steel anode and a nickel-manganese-cobalt cathode.

Comply with me @tinamcasey on Bluesky, Threads, Submit, and LinkedIn.

Picture: The automotive press studies that IM Motors has promised a production-ready solid-state EV battery, with extra particulars forthcoming on April 8 (courtesy of IM Motors through

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