Solid-state batteries could cut the carbon footprint of electric vehicle (EV) batteries by 29% compared with today's liquid lithium-ion batteries and could reduce it even further using sustainably sourced materials, a campaign group said on Tuesday.
Based on a comparison of one of the most promising solid-state batteries to lithium-ion technology and using sustainable lithium sources, a battery's carbon footprint could be cut by as much as 39%, Transport and Environment (T&E) said.
The European climate group called for incentives to cut the carbon footprint in new EV battery regulations being finalised by the European parliament and EU member states.
“Electric vehicles are already far better for the planet,” T&E's clean vehicles officer Cecilia Mattea said in a statement. “But solid state technology is a step change because their higher energy density means far less materials, and therefore far less emissions, are needed to make them.”
Solid-state batteries, which use solid ceramic material instead of liquid electrolytes to carry electric current, could store more energy, charge faster and offer greater safety than liquid lithium-ion batteries.
Carmakers including Ford and BMW are working with suppliers to develop solid-state batteries and they should start appearing in EVs in the second half of this decade.
Solid-state batteries require less graphite and cobalt, a metal mostly produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has a large informal sector with a legacy of unsafe working practices and child labour.
T&E said new lithium mining methods like geothermal wells emit far less CO2 than more commonly used sources including lithium from hard rock that is mined in Australia and refined in China.