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Panasonic North America CEO: Solid-State EV Batteries at Least a Decade Away

It appears the next big thing in battery technology won't be coming any time soon.

CEO for Panasonic North America Tom Gebhardt said in an interview that solid-state batteries for electric vehicles are at least a decade out for mass-market electric vehicles.

Known commonly as solid-state batteries, solid-electrolyte batteries are believed to be the next major step in battery technology. They offer superior safety to liquid-electrolyte batteries because of their lesser chance of a fire when their cases are punctured, and offer better energy density, which could translate into smaller, lighter batteries.

Gebhardt told Business Insider that like all technologies, the industry loves to hype up the next major development in the battery field, no matter how far out. He expects current lithium-ion battery technology to undergo gradual refinement, improving energy density, charge rate, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

“We’re still pretty bullish on lithium ion but clearly understand that solid state is something that we all want to get to at some point in the future,” Gebhardt told the publication.

Experts disagree as to whether lithium-ion batteries can become much cheaper. Bloomberg analysts predict a reduction in lithium-ion battery prices by as much as 52 percent by 2030, while one BMW board member insists battery prices can’t fall far below where they are today, at $116 to $174 per kilowatt-hour of storage. Some companies are pouring money into solid-state battery development with the hope of readying the technology by 2025, while others believe lithium-sulfur batteries could serve as an intermediate solution between lithium-ion and solid-state batteries.

Investment into global energy storage is predicted to total $1.2 trillion by 2040. Of this, electric vehicle batteries will make up a significant portion—Volkswagen announced Monday that it has committed $56 billion to battery procurement.