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Solid Power, SK Innovation partner to produce automotive-scale all-solid-state batteries; $30M investment from SK

Solid Power, a leading developer of all-solid-state battery cells for electric vehicles (earlier post), announced a partnership with SK Innovation to manufacture automotive-scale all-solid-state batteries under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and joint development agreement (JDA). Together, the partnership is expected to enable SK Innovation to produce automotive-scale all-solid-state battery cells utilizing Solid Power’s sulfide-based solid electrolyte, proprietary cell designs and production processes.


Source: Solid Power, June 2021

The partnership is intended to facilitate the validation of Solid Power’s all-solid-state cell development and production techniques as part of the industry-standard automotive qualification process (APQP). This marks a key milestone on Solid Power’s strategic roadmap to achieve commercial production of all-solid-state battery cells for electric vehicle integration and use.


Source: Solid Power, June 2021

The partnership with SK Innovation is designed to validate that Solid Power’s all-solid-state production processes are scalable and compatible with existing lithium-ion production technology. The ability to collaborate with a global leader in lithium-ion cell production is key to our go-to-market strategy and meeting anticipated demand.

—Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power

Through the JDA, SK Innovation and Solid Power plan to cooperate on all-solid-state cell development, validation and production to enable Solid Power to deliver pre-commercial all-solid-state cells to the Company’s automotive customers for qualification testing. Solid Power’s Silicon EV Cell is expected to be safer, provide longer range, and cost less than today’s leading lithium-ion batteries.

In June, Solid Power entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination with DCRC, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that would result in Solid Power becoming a publicly listed company. In addition to the joint development agreements, SK Innovation agreed to invest $30 million in Solid Power through a subscription to purchase shares in DCRC’s previously announced private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction. This investment adds to the $165-million fully committed PIPE, resulting in aggregate PIPE commitments of $195 million. The PIPE is anchored by investors Koch Strategy Platforms, Riverstone Energy Limited, Neuberger Berman funds and Van Eck Associates Corporation.

This investment, along with the other previously announced PIPE investments related to Solid Power’s business combination with DCRC, is subject to certain conditions, including the successful completion of the business combination within the period contemplated by the subscription agreements.

Through this partnership, Solid Power intends to license its proprietary technology, manufacturing know-how and practices to SK Innovation to enable full integration of the company’s sulfide-based solid electrolyte material and the company’s cell designs into SK Innovation’s existing cell production environment.

The technology license and future commercial supply are subject to the parties successfully negotiating and entering into further commercial agreements, along with regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

The JDA and MoU provide the framework for us to jointly develop and industrialize our high-content silicon all-solid-state battery cells as part of Solid Power’s current technology development roadmap.To successfully develop and launch our cell products, we follow the standard automotive APQP process, which will ensure our cell design meets automotive partner specifications, meets the highest quality standards and is manufacturable at high rates with high yields. The ability to quickly transfer production know-how and cell designs to a partner with lithium-ion production at GWh scale saves on capital expenses, in line with Solid Power’s capital light business model.

—Derek Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at Solid Power

Solid Power plans to supply SK Innovation with its proprietary electrolyte for use in the manufacturing of all-solid-state cells. Under terms of the JDA, Solid Power expects to generate a small amount of revenue from both research and development and from the sale of electrolyte samples beginning in 2022.


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