Various different materials and construction techniques are being explored to replace current lithium batteries, including Samsung’s graphene ball cathode technology and metal air systems, but solid state batteries are seen as the future by many.
Solid state batteries effectively swap the liquid electrolyte for a solid material, typically a polymer or ceramic, which has the potential to dramatically increase energy density, improve safety by removing flammability, and reduce or remove the effects of ageing.
Because of the higher stability of using a solid electrolyte, solid state batteries can use cathodes with higher potential energy and anodes of solid lithium, which could significantly increase the amount of energy they can store. They can also be smaller, lighter and require fewer components not dedicated to generating electricity, such as cooling systems.
Several companies are racing to perfect the technology with various different chemistries and construction, including traditional battery manufacturers Samsung and LG, but also a new breed such as Dyson and QuantumScape, in which Volkswagen has a significant stake.