Revolutionary battery from SolidEnergy Systems coming this November

SolidEnergy Systems battery comparison

This is huge, I’m really excited while writing this and don’t know how to begin, but here it goes.

If you’ve been reading my articles for a while you already noticed that I refuse to write about miracle batteries or electric cars, that are promised to arrive in a couple of years from now. Mostly because that kind of “news” undermine electric cars by implying that current technology isn’t good enough and also because in most cases they are nothing more than fairy tales. Volkswagen in this field is the world champion, no other company makes so many press releases about future electric cars. It gets ridiculous, especially when behind closed doors they try to push legislation to delay electric car’s adoption.


Back to what matters, the SolidEnergy battery and why this is the real deal.

When I try to figure if a to be released battery for electric cars is legit, I check what are the manufacturer’s plans to introduce it to the market. If it says that the amazing battery will go from the drawing board directly to electric cars, this is a big red flag and most likely the company will never deliver the battery. The most solid plan is always to start small and then increase the production. Smartphones are a great way to test new cells, since the battery is actually only one individual cell with daily use and abuse.

SolidEnergy’s plans for market introduction are simple and solid. First batteries for drones in November this year, then smartphones and wearables in early 2017 and finally electric cars in 2018.

I’ll definitely be paying attention to the smartphones that in 2017 will use these batteries.


Qichao Hu, the CEO of SolidEnergy said:


“With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium ion battery. Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium ion battery, but now it will last twice as long.”


We can see what Qichao Hu means with the 2 Ah cell below:


SolidEnergy battery (left) and Iphone's 6 battery (right)

SolidEnergy’s battery (left) and iPhone’s 6 battery (right)


The iPhone 6 has a 1.810 mAh battery with an energy density of 250 Wh/kg (gravimetric) and 575 Wh/L (volumetric). The SolidEnergy battery alternative is half the size and half the weight.

While SolidEnergy announces a volumetric energy density of 1.200 Wh/L for its market available cells, 1.337 Wh/L was achieved in the demonstrated 2 Ah pounch cell back in 2014, when it “was validated under industry standards by A123 Systems LLC”. This means that SolidEnergy is going by the “under-promise and over-deliver” premise or that the volumetric energy density was recently reduced to 1.200 Wh/L to improve other aspects of the cell, such as lifespan, power, cost or safety.


Regarding electric cars, Qichao Hu said:


“Industry standard is that electric vehicles need to go at least 200 miles on a single charge. We can make the battery half the size and half the weight, and it will travel the same distance, or we can make it the same size and same weight, and now it will go 400 miles on a single charge.”


What would you prefer, a Tesla Model S 100D that has a smaller and lighter battery, which makes it more efficient or a Tesla Model S 200D?


What actually means energy densities as high as 1.200 Wh/L and 400 Wh/kg for electric cars?

Let’s take the popular Nissan Leaf as example.

Each of the 192 cells in the 24 kWh battery has the following characteristics:

Capacity: 32,5 Ah

Nominal Voltage: 3,75 V

Weight: 787 g

Energy Density: 317 Wh/L and 157 Wh/kg

The 192 cells (192 x 32,5 Ah x 3,75 V) give a total battery capacity of 23,4 kWh. Yes, not the full advertised 24 kWh, you naughty Nissan! The 192 cells weight is 151,1 kg and the volume is 73,82 L.


With SolidEnergy cell’s energy density we could get:

With the same weight and less volume: 59,62 kWh and 49,68 L

With the same volume but more weight: 88,58 kWh and 221,45 kg

It would be great to see these cells produced in Tesla Gigafactory.


I’ve been saying than an automaker that uses cells with an energy density lower than 600 Wh/L doesn’t want electric cars to succeed. Now I have to rethink this figure and it might increase to 1.200 Wh/L sooner than later.


If you want to know more about SolidEnergy’s background read the MIT News article in the link below. It’s very well written and very interesting.



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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5 years ago

Really great news! Do you know if they will also be available in 18650 format?

Now would be much appreciated if third parties start offering battery upgrades to current generation BEVs.

5 years ago

The good of the 18650 format is that it is easier to build battery packs for home storage as an example.

5 years ago

Wish they came as 18650 or a similar format. Would be perfect for building a pack for an electric bike!

5 years ago

It does seem odd to say the least, if this is anywhere near as good as Pedro thinks, that they attracted only twelve million in investment. For something twice as good as the current state of the art I’d expect billions!

5 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Awesome! If you are right the EV transition should happen a decade sooner than I expected. I’ve been tipping 2025-2030 as the year incumbents will begin to go all-in, but if this pans out 2020 seems more likely!

Btw, regarding the trade-off of size/weight/cost/efficiency, if charging rates are not worse than today I’d definitely prefer a 100 kWh car to a 200 one. Even with the former is mostly be dragging around an awful lot of superfluous capacity. And I’d still be able to drive long enough that I should take a break anyway. If however I were a camping enthusiast and wanted to tow along a camping wagon on vacation I’d clearly need the 200 kWh battery and maybe even more…!

5 years ago

If its ready 2018/2019 Tesla Gigafactory equipment would be worthless. Solid State batteries are best in pouch, can’t leak and in prismatic cell you have always 15-18 % weight of the case so you will never get near the pouch energy density were its 2-3 % weight of lamination.

5 years ago

Energy density is the least important factor for EV batteries. I would be interested to hear about the price per kWh, charge/discharge rate and capacity loss over time of those new “super batteries”…

5 years ago

If I had a dollar for each time I’ve read about a battery breakthrough that was nothing, I would be rich by now.
This company was in serious trouble just recently now they promise to become one of the richest companies in the world (yes a company making batteries twice as good would probably become the richest in the world).
Let’s wait to see…

Asogan Moodaly
5 years ago

In my opinion, the energy density is not as important these days compared to $/kWh. Yes the mass is half but if the production cost is a lot more, then the $/kWh will be more as well. Any idea as to the $/kWh cost? Typical Li Fe Po cells are in the range of USD230/kWh to USD270/kWh?