The switch from petrol to electric vehicles is getting closer, as lithium-ion batteries begin to be replaced with an alternative that is cheaper to produce, safer, and holds more energy.
One company working towards this is Colorado-based startup Solid Power, which has announced it will go public through a $1.24 billion special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger deal.
Solid Power makes all-solid-state batteries for cars and mobile devices. These batteries replace the traditional liquid electrolyte, which moves ions between the cathode and anode in lithium-ion batteries, with a solid version; an innovation that offers critical performance enhancements alleviating the two big limiting factors of electric vehicles: cost and range.
With superior energy density, Solid Power claims the batteries will enable a 50% to 75% range increase over commercially available lithium-ion equivalents, providing a near 500-mile drive from a single charge. According to the startup, this is matched by ultra-fast charging capability, and longevity that more than doubles a conventional battery’s eight-year lifespan.
Yet Solid Power’s batteries are still in the early stages of testing. This SPAC, which is expected to complete in the fourth quarter, will give the firm a cash injection of around $600 million that is expected to enable further testing and development. The final battery could eventually be used to power vehicles manufactured by Solid Power investors Ford and BMW.
Solid Power is not alone in opting for a SPAC deal, which have proven to be increasingly popular in the past year. 3D printing startups, fintech companies, and several other electric vehicle firms have taken this shortcut to the stock market, including QuantumScape. The rival solid solid-state battery maker went public via a SPAC merger last September at a valuation of $3.3 billion, and was recently valued at $12.3 billion.