The current generation of Stromer e-bikes has an electric-assisted range of 75 to 160 miles (120 to 260 kilometers) and a charging time of 3.7 to 7 hours. But the Swiss manufacturer is already hard at work developing a solid-state battery pack that could drastically cut charging times and get a rider back in the saddle in less time than eating a sandwich and bottle of water.
While Stromer admits its ceramic solid-state battery is still years away from production, it highlighted its first functional prototype for a bike at last month’s Eurobike show. It has been working with Taiwanese e-bike battery maker TD Hitech Energy to develop the next-generation technology.
“Solid-state ceramic batteries are our holy grail,” said Stromer co-CEO Tomi Viiala. “This new technology could provide many benefits in the future, especially in terms of safety and full charge speed, which will be about 10 times faster than current lithium batteries.”
Stromer further explained that the company is working to use solid-state technology to create e-bike battery packs capable of charging in temperatures as low as -20 °C (-4 °F), and hopes to go down to -30 °C (-22°) in the future.
In terms of charging time, the company believes it can reduce the fast charging time to 20 minutes, with the ultimate goal of using the technology to create battery packs that can charge in as little as 12 minutes. Assuming one rides somewhere where charging is available, such a fast charging rate would effectively make the pedal assist range virtually limitless, allowing riders to recharge in as little as a trip to the bathroom.
Don’t get too excited about a 15-minute charge just yet, though. Viiala acknowledges that solid-state batteries are still years away from mass production. Developers need to figure out ways to reduce the cost and increase the power value so that both are viable for retail e-bike products.
We expect solid-state batteries to enter the automotive market first, and they’re being touted as the same type of holy grail that Stromer described. In addition to faster charging times and improved safety, solid-state batteries have higher energy density, which means longer range and/or smaller, lighter battery packs. Automakers such as Toyota and BMW, as well as battery companies such as Panasonic and Samsung, have been working on solid-state technology for electric vehicles.