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'Win For Sustainability And Colorado': Solid Power To Begin Delivering Electric Vehicle Batteries For Testing

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) - A company based in Louisville has launched the production of a new breed of batteries for electric vehicles. Experts call it a game-changer for increasing the range for driving electric cars without a re-charge, improving safety, and for reducing the cost of the vehicles.

"We as a society are moving toward a clean energy economy and going to electrified vehicles is a huge, huge part of that," said Solid Power CEO Doug Campbell.

E Vehicle
(credit: CBS)

Later this year the company will deliver solid-state batteries for qualification testing by its automotive partners BMW and Ford. Campbell added, "This represents one of the industry's largest, potentially the world's largest production facility dedicated to purely solid-state batteries. So that's obviously a big deal and it's right here in the state of Colorado."

Researchers are watching the private sector innovation with interest from a lab at the Colorado School of Mines. Although Solid Power's technology was developed at CU Boulder, Mines faculty suggested cost-effective routes to manufacture raw materials for the batteries.

Colin Wolden, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Mines, said, "Lithium-ion battery production is dominated in Asia and this is a real chance to relocate that important industry here to the United States, and Colorado."

Solid Power 1
(credit: Solid Power)

Replacing the flammable liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries will improve the capacity and safety of EV cells and drive down the cost.

"In these electric vehicles, the battery is now the biggest cost of those things so I think this will go a long way to streamlining and bringing electric vehicles into the reach of a much bigger part of the population," Wolden said.

Solid Power is adding a second production facility and scores of new jobs in Thornton capable of producing 30-40 metric tons per year of its sulfide-based solid electrolyte material.

"This is a win-win for sustainability and for the climate and for Colorado," Professor Wolden added.

Solid Power became a publicly-traded company last December, raising $540 million dollars.

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