Brand alliances sometimes bring two seemingly unlikely pairings to work with each other. The most recent one to hit the news is one with BMW and Ford. On the surface, the two automakers are opposites of each other. One is a mass-market and mainstream brand with a strong range of pick-ups, crossovers, and SUVs. The other brand specializes in premium and luxury vehicles.
But what brought these two brands together? It's all in the name of electrification. Both these automakers invested heavily in a battery company called Solid Power. Their goal is to further develop solid-state vehicle battery technology to deliver longer-range and lower-cost electric vehicles for customers worldwide. Think of this as a way for automakers to build scalable electric powertrains.
There is another reason why Ford and BMW want to accelerate the development of solid-state batteries. The two automakers claim that this battery technology shows promise and offers greater benefits compared to lithium-ion batteries. They explain that solid-state batteries do not have liquid electrolytes found in conventional lithium-ion batteries. Because of that, these energy sources can be lighter and more compact than what we find in current EVs.
Because of their size, solid-state batteries do not take up as much space as lithium-ion batteries. That allows BMW and Ford to build vehicles that maximize interior space and cargo volume. For them, these energy-dense batteries offer big benefits when it comes to range and power. At the same time, it is also a packaging solution.
Ford's EV plans include an all-electric F-150 and a plug-in Transit van. They also aim for a pure EV range in Europe by 2030. The European arm of the automaker is targeting 2023 as the launch year of a high-volume, all-electric passenger vehicle.
As for BMW, they want to roll out their solid-state battery-powered test vehicle by 2025. Five years after that, the German automaker will launch their first EV with that power source should all plans fall into place.