Solid-state batteries are not new, they have been around for a while. However, the application of these batteries has recently changed. Traditionally solid-state batteries were used in devices like pacemakers, wearables, and RFID. Traditionally solid-state batteries were used in smaller devices. More recently though, solid-state batteries have proven useful in larger devices like the car.
Solid-state batteries are as the name suggests, batteries that are solid. They have solid electrolytes that can come in the form of glass, ceramics, or other materials. The structure of solid-state batteries doesn't differ much from the traditional lithium batteries besides the fact that a lithium battery has an electrolyte liquid and a solid-state has a solid electrolyte. Without the need for liquid electrolytes, solid-state batteries can be much denser and more compact.
How does it differ from a traditional lithium-ion battery?
Besides the main difference of having a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid, the solid-state batteries are far denser and more compact. Solid-state batteries should have far more advantages than traditional lithium-ion when thinking of using the two batteries to power an electric car.
Solid-state batteries act the same way as lithium-ion batteries, the electron movement from the cathode to the anode occurs, but in a solid-state battery, the movement is far more direct and efficient than in a traditional lithium-ion battery. Using a solid-state battery offers additional performance and safety improvements than the traditional lithium-ion battery.
The other main difference is that, with a solid-state battery, there isn't a need for monitoring control and a cooling system that traditionally accompanies lithium-ion batteries.
Should I wait for solid-state batteries?
The answer to this question lies in what you want and your needs. Unfortunately, while it makes sense to use solid-state batteries due to the increased efficiency and productivity, and removal of additional battery systems, it will be way down the road before they are prevalent everywhere.
As of now, solid-state batteries are expensive. Just like all the other emerging technologies solid-state batteries have a large developmental cost. Solid-state batteries are difficult to manufacture on a large scale and this has led to a lag in the process of implementing them into larger use cases like eclectic vehicles.
Toyota aims to sell its first electronic vehicle powered by a solid-state battery by 2030. Several other car manufacturers have similar projects. While a solid-state battery makes sense for electronic vehicles there are plenty of other applications where a better battery would be necessary.
If you would like to learn more about what batteries are best for you and your needs, check out the Lead Acid vs Lithium-ion Guide. In the meantime, be on the lookout for additional advances in the usage and applications of solid-state batteries.