VinFast, the Vietnamese automobile manufacturer, has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation with Taiwanese ProLogium Company to manufacture solid-state batteries for electric cars. The two sides will set up a joint venture to make products for EVs in Vietnam.

Battery capacity remains the biggest weakness of electric cars. Creating batteries which can store energy for long-distance travel is a challenge for technology firms all over the world.

Currently, EVs all use lithium-iron battery technology, or liquid-state battery. In order to increase storage capacity, it needs to be heavier. But this leads to higher costs and ineffective operation. And it takes too much time to recharge the battery.

Automobile manufacturers, which are trying to commercialize EVs, need to improve battery capacity, and develop batteries that are safe and have low production costs.

To solve these problems, manufacturers are trying to make the batteries smaller in size but with larger storage capacity than liquid batteries. Solid-state batteries are expected to be safer for users because they do not contain flammable toxic liquids and have a longer lifespan. In particular, this type of battery can be charged more quickly because ions in solid design can move faster from the cathode to the anode.

The solid-state battery technology is still under development, so the production cost is still relatively high.

Nevertheless, automobile manufacturers are still spending big money to try to develop solid-state batteries. Toyota, for example, has invested $13.9 billion in researching and developing solid-state batteries and it plans to commercialize the technology after 2020.

A Frost & Sullivan study found that the EV demand in Southeast Asian countries is very modest. The problem does not lie in selling prices, but in people’s concern about the operation capacity and infrastructure conditions.

Agencies predict that the Vietnamese auto market will have 800,000 EV products a year by 2025 and 1 million a year by 2030. Mastering battery manufacturing technology will serve as the prerequisite for the development of smart EV models in the future.

VinFast, the 100 percent Vietnamese-owned automobile manufacturer, announced it has successfully developed three smart SUV electric cars VF31, VF32 and VF33, having a self-propelling feature and using artificial intelligence (AI). 

Tran Thuy

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