The Myth, The Hype, and The Pure BS

The credibility challenges in the battery industry

Written By

Doug Campbell

When industry articles lead with statements like, “We’ve seen so many incredible claims about energy storage over the years that our battery breakthrough baloney detectors are practically on a hair trigger,” we have to acknowledge that our industry has credibility issues.

Why is this? Two reasons. One, history has shown us, from the Gold Rush to the microchip to cryptocurrencies, that with incredible market opportunity and the race to be the first, comes a flood of capital, entrepreneurs, opportunists, and, unfortunately, hype.

And, secondly, this is a capital-intensive industry. Two men and a dog are not likely to create the next battery breakthrough in their garage. With the demand for capital comes the drive for publicity and headlines to attract and satisfy investors.

What is real


The opportunity and market impact. While the flood of analysts studying the industry may haggle over the forecasts and potential of CAGR growth, they all agree that the opportunity in the solid-state battery space is huge. The facts are that using a solid electrolyte will enable higher energy density, longer lifespan, and increased safety. Those performance benefits translate into huge gains in downstream markets, with the most notable one being electric vehicles. . The superlatives and the optimism are indeed warranted, and it’s not hubris to see a $10+ billion market for solid-state batteries powering electric vehicles. XXX is in solid-state.


The technology advances. This isn’t a pipe dream. The breakthroughs and technological advances are real. Solid-state battery technology is a game changer for the EV, defense, and medical device markets, and Solid Power’s technology is poised to revolutionize the industry in its ability to develop and scale a competitive solid-state battery paying special attention to safety, performance, and cost.

We know that the advantages of Solid Power’s solid-state batteries are numerous and include:

  • 2 – 3X higher energy vs. current Li-ion
  • Substantially improved safety due to the elimination of the volatile, flammable, and corrosive liquid electrolyte as used in Li-ion
  • Low-cost battery-pack designs through:
    • Minimization of safety features
    • Elimination of pack cooling
    • Greatly simplified cell, module, and pack designs through the elimination of the need for liquid containment
  • High manufacture-ability due to compatibility with automated, industry-standard, roll-to-roll manufacturing


The challenges. No single solid-state technology has met all the performance metrics required for the automotive market, despite making great progress. Furthermore, if the technology is not inherently scalable towards mass production, you will never get to an electric vehicle. Bridging the valley of death, from small startup to a mass production company, is a challenge for any hardware company, but it is especially true in batteries, because electrochemistry, to put it simply, is hard.

In order to get there, performance will have to improve on progressively larger scales towards mass production. You have to be willing working with partners early, to ensure product-market fit, manufacturing scalability, and a sustainable business strategy. Gone are the days that startups can compete head-to-head in the battery industry. Scaling new technologies to automotive levels will require hundreds of millions in capital expenditure, and you have to be willing to work with external parties as no one company can get there alone.  challenges are surmountable and we have the best and brightest on it.


Our vow


Recently Solid Power was introduced by someone I respect tremendously as, “The most credible player in the industry.” This was personally a very proud moment in my career, but it did make me stop for a moment to reflect. Is this hyperbole, or well deserved?

I am not sure what the right answer is, but I can tell you that it is easy to get very excited about what we are working on; this is cool shit. We are very optimistic about the future, and know that what we are developing at Solid Power is ground breaking. We are developing a world-changing solid-state battery; that’s not hype.

At Solid Power, we know that we owe it to our employees, our investors, and the industry to always be very real about the progress and the challenges ahead. The potential PR opportunity and big headline released too soon isn’t worth the risk to credibility and reputation. When we come out with a big announcement, you can be sure – it will be big and credible.


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