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A Chinese startup may have cracked solid-state batteries

But details are, predictably, sparse.
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Vectorios2016 via Getty Images

Solid-state batteries have long been heralded as The Next Big Thing after lithium-ion, with companies from all quarters racing to get them into high-volume production. Dyson, BMW and car manufacturer Fisker are just a few names that have been working on the tech for the last few years, but now, reports suggest a Chinese start-up might be the first to have cracked it.

According to Chinese media, Qing Tao Energy Development Co, a startup out of the technical Tsinghua University, has deployed a solid-state battery production line in Kunshan, East China. Reports claim the line has a capacity of 100MWh per year -- which is planned to increase to 700MWh by 2020 -- and that the company has achieved an energy density of more than 400Wh/kg, compared to new generation lithium-ion batteries that boast a capacity of around 250-300Wh/kg.

Details beyond this are sparse. The headline news here, if accurate, would be that the company has managed to put solid-state batteries into high volume production, but it's not clear how Qing Tao Energy Development has achieved this, nor what price points are involved. Furthermore, while a capacity of 100MWh is not to be sneezed at, it still only equates to fewer than 2,000 long-range EVs per year. Nonetheless, the news demonstrates that progress is happening in the solid-state battery arena. We might not feasibly yet be at high volume production, but we're on our way.

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