Competition is heating up among global chemical and automobile companies to develop a solid-state battery that is expected to lead the future electric vehicle (EV) market.
The Fuji Economic Institute in Japan predicts that the market for all-solid-state batteries will grow to 38 trillion won in 2035.
Japan has been the most proactive in developing all-solid-state batteries. The country has made a large-scale investment in the development of the new battery through the New Energy Industry Technology Development Organization (NEDO). In particular, Toyota has invested 1.5 trillion yen in developing all-solid-state batteries in a bid to launch an EV loaded with them by 2022.
In addition to Japanese carmakers, Germany's Volkswagen and BMW are planning to launch models with all-solid-state batteries in 2025 or 2026. They have forged a partnership with American QuantumScape and Solid Power, respectively.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Hyundai Motor Group are also preparing for the era of all-solid-state batteries by investing US$1 billion and US$5 million, respectively, into Ionic Materials, a U.S. battery technology startup.
As global automakers are preparing for the next-generation battery era in various ways, chemical companies, which are currently leading the EV battery market, are also seeking to secure future growth engines. The electric vehicle market is expected to move from lithium-ion batteries to all-solid batteries in the future. Three Korean battery manufacturers — LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation — are conducting research on the development of all-solid-state batteries with the goal of developing them around 2025.
However, existing battery producers are relatively less enthusiastic than automobile producers in developing all-solid-state batteries. Most battery makers are focusing on upgrading the performance of existing batteries, believing that it will take at least 10 years to popularize all-solid-state batteries. "Next-generation batteries still have a long way to go compared to lithium ion batteries," an LG Chem official said at a conference call earlier this year. "Their sample will come out in the mid-2020s at the earliest."