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Fisker abandons solid-state EV batteries

Henrik Fisker’s eponymous electric car startup has abandoned plans to develop solid-state battery technology, citing its lack of near-term viability (among other complications) in an interview with The Verge

Fisker said the company felt it was “90 percent there” on solid state tech, but that the final 10% proved too challenging given the constraints of current technology. He feels the move to solid state battery composition will require a significant breakthrough followed by years of development. 

“I think personally, they’re at least seven years out, if not more, in terms of any sort of high-volume format,” he said. “… once you have a breakthrough in that technology, you need probably three years to set up high-volume manufacturing, and then you need another three years to do durability testing. So even if somebody invented it today, it would be at least probably six years out.”

“[W]e have completely dropped solid-state batteries at this point in time because we just don’t see it materializing,” Fisker said. “Would we do something in the future? If we do, it would be something completely new, and we obviously have a battery team that’s looking at the current technology that’s here. But the solid-state battery that we worked on, that just doesn’t have a future at this point in time in the near future.”

As to whether Fisker’s abandonment of solid-state tech had anything to do with the company settling a lawsuit brought by QuantumScape, Fisker cited the settlement’s non-disclosure clause and nothing more. Fisker has shied away from promoting solid state battery development since the introduction of its production-intent Ocean electric SUV, which is going to be produced in partnership with automotive supplier Magna. 

Meanwhile, others in the industry remain committed to solid-state battery tech, at least for the time being. Toyota said just months ago that it intends to introduce a solid-state prototype some time in 2021, with production viability coming as soon as 2025. That would be sooner than Fisker predicted, but not outrageously so, and if anybody has the resources to rapidly develop next-generation automotive powertrains, it’s Toyota. 

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