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Unexpected company threatens major EV automakers after unveiling 'next-generation' solid-state battery: 'We have manufacturing skill'

It seems eager to become a common name in solid-state batteries.

It seems eager to become a common name in solid-state batteries.

Photo Credit: iStock

There's a new solid-state battery innovator aiming to make a mark on the fast-growing industry. 

Schaeffler, an automotive and industrial parts maker (mostly bearings), showed up to a Las Vegas tech showcase in January as an electric vehicle battery outsider with a unique prototype being hyped by a company official as the next industry pace-setter. 

It's "next-generation," Schaeffler Chief Technology Officer Jeff Hemphill told Autoweek. 

Details on the solid-state battery showcased at CES 2024 are a little scarce. A report from CleanTechnica said that Schaeffler officials are playing it "close to the vest" when it comes to specifics on the power pack. 

On its website, Schaeffler lists the standard pros solid-state tech can bring to the table, including extended mileage, shorter charge time, and better safety. Experts working on the tech (and there are many) must overcome materials shortages, recycling issues, production costs, and dendrites, according to MotorTrend.

Dendrites are metallic structures that form inside batteries as they operate, causing malfunctions. 

The Schaeffler team seems confident in their tech's ability to meet the challenges. 

"We have manufacturing skill," Rashid Farahati, the engineering director for the company's Americas division, told Autoweek. "Solid-state, electrolyte, is best for Schaeffler."

The prototype showcased at CES is part of a larger overall battery picture for Schaeffler, including a partnership with Honda and Ohio State University to develop power pack technology. The project involves a $22 million investment to establish a 25,000-square-foot facility in Ohio to develop battery cells. It will open in April 2025, according to the university. The funding includes $4.5 million from the federal government. 

"Our strategic partnership with The Ohio State University provides a hands-on and collaborative approach with the goal of providing industry-leading and scalable solutions that will position Ohio at the center of battery technology," Hemphill said in a press release from the Buckeyes. 

For Honda's part, American division executive vice president Bob Nelson said in the release that the Ohio State project builds on a more-than-30-year relationship with the university. It also affirms the automaker's commitment to an "electrified future." 

"This facility will be a great resource to train the next-generation workforce in advanced manufacturing technologies," Nelson said

Schaeffler's prototype, and the battery cell research center, are potentially exciting pieces of news as experts continue to develop better, cleaner ways to transform the way we travel. 

And Schaeffler seems eager to become a common name in solid-state batteries, "providing industry-leading and scalable solutions," Hemphill said in the press release.

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