As competition for global battery supremacy intensifies, all-solid-state batteries, called “dream batteries,” are attracting more attention from those in the world battery industry. This is because if this battery technology, which can boost batteries’ safety and mileage a great deal, is commercialized, it will make a huge change in the battery market dominated by lithium-ion batteries.
All-solid-state batteries are considered a super-gap technology that can replace lithium-ion batteries as they have high energy density and low risk of fire and explosion. As more energy can be stored in the same volume of all-solid-state batteries, all-solid-state batteries can increase the mileage of an electric vehicle by up to 800 km. According to IDTechX, a global market research institute, the all-solid-state battery market is expected to grow to more than US$8 billion (approximately 10.4 trillion won) by 2031.
Japan is leading the world in the field of all-solid-state batteries. Toyota has applied for the registration of 1,600 all-solid-state battery patents as of July last year. In 2021, a prototype electric vehicle loaded with an all-solid-state battery was also unveiled by the Japanese automaker for the first time in the world. Honda is building an all-solid-state battery demonstration production line at its Tochigi plant in Japan with the goal of starting it in 2024.
Korean battery makers are also speeding up the development of all-solid-state batteries. Samsung SDI will complete an all-solid-state battery test production line in the first half of this year and begin mass production of all-solid-state batteries in 2027. SK On aims to commercialize all-solid-state batteries in 2029. With the SK ON Battery Research Center taking the lead, the company is developing solid electrolytes and lithium metal anode materials. LG Energy Solution aims to roll out polymer-based all-solid-state batteries beginning in 2026 and sulfide-based all-solid-state batteries beginning in 2030.
4680 cylindrical battery technology is a next-generation technology that Korean battery makers should focus on these days, experts say. Compared to conventional batteries, their energy density is five times higher and their output is six times higher; therefore their mileage increased by 16 percent. At Ochang Plant 2 in Korea, where LG Energy Solution is currently expanding 4680 battery production lines, its 4680 battery mass-production is scheduled to begin in earnest from the second half of 2023. Tesla also plans to scale up production of 4680 batteries in California and Texas.
“Tesla started mass production of 4680 batteries ahead of others,” said Park Chul-wan, professor at Seojeong College.
The need to develop lithium metal batteries is also on the rise. Currently, U.S. battery startup SES is leading the way in this technology, analysts say. It has proven its technological prowess by receiving investment from global automakers such as General Motors and Hyundai Motor Group.