Nov 162017


Fisker has filed patents for solid-state batteries

So what makes this newsworthy? The claims:

  • 2.5 times the energy density of current batteries
  • A car would have a 500-mile range
  • It would take only one minute to charge that car
  • Cheaper than lithium ion batteries
  • Lower risk of fire

The target is electric cars. But 2.5 times the energy density means laptop batteries that last far long, cell phones that last for days, electric aircraft from drones to airliners, man-portable lasers and railguns/coilguns capable of meaningful performance.


 Posted by at 9:52 am
  • Adam

    Not quite electric aircraft yet. The DLR did a study and found that a whole order of magnitude increase in battery specific energy is needed to be fully competitive with conventionally fueled aircraft.

    The reason for this is despite the possibilities of drag reduction via distributed propulsion integration afforded by electric aircraft, batteries don’t change weight in flight like kerosene-fueled planes do. That’s a handicap that still needs to be overcome.

  • becida

    A 500 mile range and a truly quick charge would make electric cars real.

    • Adam


  • guest

    A sixty second charge, for five hundred miles worth of energy?

    I’m doing some math in my head. I find this less than plausible, but maybe I’m just cynical.

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    Like guest, I’m a bit sceptical as well.

    The best way that I know to get practical electric vehicles is to use fuel cells (specifically Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)) which can extract the electrochemical energy from a hydrocarbon fuel in one pass (no conversion steps to eat away at efficiency). The energy density of hydrocarbon fuels is something like 20-40X of current Lithium Ion batteries, and unless they are doing something truly weird, it is difficult to see how solid state batteries can be competitive with hydrocarbons either.

  • Richard Douglas

    How can you possibly push that amount of current into storage that quickly without melting the wires it is flowing through? The amp draw on the charging apparatus and electrical grid would be insane for such a short duration, high ampacity load. Are they working on some miracle conductors (like affordable, flexible, room temperature superconductors) to make the charging cable, battery wiring, and distribution grid out of?

    A typical electric car battery bank is between 12 and 30 kiloWatt hours…that means they deliver 1000 Watts of power for 12-30 hours…with ranges in the high tens of miles (90-120). So assuming 20 KWhrs gives 100 miles, we would need to pump these batteries full of roughly 1000 KWhrs, or one MWhr. An average power plant in the US generates 500 MW of power. Charging your car would take 1/500 of the entire output of a power plant, delivered to your car, at a charging station, in one minute.

    To put this in perspective, an average American, right now, uses about 13 MWhrs per year. That’s right…one charge would suck up almost as much electricity as an average home uses in a MONTH. In one minute. I would love to watch the charging process, from a loooong way away..

    • Scottlowther

      One solution, which would take a *lot* of language-mangling to suggest is what they mean here, is that it takes one minute for an automated system built into the charging stations to swap out the exhausted car batteries for charged new ones. It seems like it aught to be easy to design a charging station like a car wash… you pull in to a track, it clamps onto your car and pulls it through. Robo-arms reach up from below and grab the industry-standard batteries, removes them, replaces them, puts the old ones into a charging station that takes however many hours to charge them up again. Such a system sure seems like it could do the job in one minute, but of course that’s not quite what they’re saying here.

      • Pacoran

        So, something like this

        • Scottlowther

          Not far off. A system that reaches up with robo-arms would be more complex, but would also be more adaptable; the system shown here limits the geometry of the autos.