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Japan’s Musashi Invests in Solid-State Battery Developer

Japan’s Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. has made an unspecified investment in KeraCel Inc., a Silicon-Valley-based startup developing solid-state batteries that can be produced via 3D-printing technology.
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Japan’s Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. has made an unspecified investment in KeraCel Inc., a Silicon-Valley-based startup developing solid-state batteries that can be produced via 3D-printing technology.

As part of the agreement, Musashi will have priority rights to supply electrified powertrain systems with KeraCel batteries. Initial applications will be for electric motorcycles, with automotive and other markets expected to follow later.

Musashi supplies differential, planetary gear and transmission assemblies for cars and motorcycles.

KeraCel says its batteries use ceramic-based electrolytes and lithium metal anodes that have as much as three times the energy density as current lithium-ion cells. The new technology would cut costs in half for batteries with a comparable energy density, the company claims.

3D printing will allow virtually any shape or size of cell to be built for various applications without changing equipment or tooling, KeraCel notes. In April, the company announced it was able to print thin ceramic layers, thus reducing the amount of inactive material that impacts achievable energy density.

Several other battery companies and carmakers, including Toyota, also are developing solid-state batteries. But experts don’t expect the technology to be ready until about 2025.

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