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Ford Is Boosting Its Stake in Battery Start-Up Solid Power, a Key QuantumScape Rival

By John Rosevear - May 3, 2021 at 12:51PM

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Ford and BMW will own equal shares of the Colorado-based solid-state battery start-up.

Ford Motor Company (F 1.71%) said that it's increasing its ownership stake in Solid Power, a Colorado-based maker of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) that has positioned itself as a key rival to QuantumScape (QS 0.93%). 

Ford, which first invested in Solid Power in 2019, said that it will invest an unspecified sum in the battery maker's current $130 million Series B funding round. Once the round is complete, Ford and rival automaker BMW (BMWYY 0.35%) (BAMXF -1.29%), which is also investing in the Series B round, will own equal stakes in Solid Power.

Solid-state batteries, which omit the liquid electrolyte used in today's lithium-ion batteries, have the potential to offer greater energy density than lithium-ion batteries with less weight and at a lower cost.  A solid-state battery design that can be mass-produced at a reasonable cost has eluded researchers for years, but Solid Power, which began its work in 2012, is one of several start-ups believed to be closing in on a viable design for EVs. 

A worker in a white lab coat holds two rectangular silver battery cells, one larger than the other.

Solid Power is currently producing its 20 ampere-hour battery cell, shown on the left, on a pilot production line. The smaller cell is the company's first-generation 5 ampere-hour design. Image source: Solid Power.

A key competitive differentiator: Solid Power's solid-state battery cells can be manufactured with equipment and processes adapted from lithium-ion battery production, meaning that existing battery plants can be adapted to produce its batteries at relatively low cost. 

While other solid-state battery efforts, including QuantumScape's, are thought to be several years away from manufacturing, Solid Power is already producing its second-generation 20 ampere-hour (Ah) battery cells on a pilot production line. 

As part of its agreement to invest in the start-up, Ford will receive full-scale prototype third-generation 100 Ah battery cells from Solid Power for testing in its EVs, starting next year. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$11.32 (1.71%) $0.19
Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
BAMXF
$77.24 (-1.29%) $-1.01
Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
BMWYY
$25.88 (0.35%) $0.09
QuantumScape Corporation Stock Quote
QuantumScape Corporation
QS
$8.67 (0.93%) $0.08

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