Charged Up

The last time the U.S. tried to foster domestic battery manufacturing, its star company ended up being scooped up by a Chinese conglomerate. Can the Biden administration avoid the same fate?


Listen to SupChina editor-at-large and Sinica podcast host Kaiser Kuo read this article. Six months ago, in early October, Doug Campbell sat down in front of a camera in Louisville, Colorado, just 20 miles outside of Denver, to deliver some big news. Dressed in a trucker cap and hooded sweatshirt, the 42-year-old chief executive officer of battery start-up Solid Power looked more Rocky Mountain-cool than materials scientist-serious, but he didn’t miss a beat as he rattled off his company’s major electrochemical achievement. “Today, we are pleased to announce the production and delivery of the company’s first generation multi-layer, multi-amp-hour, all solid-state lithium-metal cell,” he said. For the battery industry, all solid-state lithium-ion cells are a holy grail: they can store dramatically more energy while simultaneously being safer to charge and use.

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