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Lithium-metal “hybrid” battery promises lighter, longer-range EVs by 2025

Enlarge / Smaller vehicles like the Kia EV6 could benefit from lighter, more energy-dense batteries. (credit: Kia)

Solid-state batteries have been hailed as the Holy Grail for electric vehicles. While that might be an overstatement, they do promise to boost range and slash charging times, bringing zero-emissions vehicles that much closer to parity with their fossil fuel competition.

Yet solid-state batteries, which use a solid electrolyte as opposed to a liquid or gel, remain just over the horizon. Recently, they’ve started to look less like vaporware and more like a real product, and they will probably make their way into cars and trucks by the end of the decade. Still, that’s a timeline that gives competitors an opening.

One of those competitors is a company called SES, which last week announced a new battery that promises to nearly double the energy density of today’s lithium-ion cells. The key was eliminating a piece of the battery that added weight and thickness—but to do so without introducing dangerous conditions that could lead to a fire.

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