Massachusetts-based Factorial Energy has entered into an agreement with both Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz in a bid to accelerate development of the former’s solid state battery technology. Confirmation of both deals arrived in quick succession this morning.
Stellantis, the corporation that merged both FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automotive) and PCA (Peugeot Société Anonyme), announced that its new “strategic investment” was a significant step in its target to introduce the industry’s first competitive solid state battery technology by 2026.
Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, stated that joint-development of the next-generation battery technology with Factorial Energy would, hopefully, lead to prototype cells being tested as early as next year. Mercedes also confirmed that, as part of the deal, the German brand holds the right to delegate a Daimler representative to Factorial’s board of directors should this be deemed necessary.
While no financial details have been revealed as of yet, Mercedes’ announcement did suggest that its investment in Factorial was a “high double-digit million dollar amount.”
“By accelerating our Mercedes-Benz strategy towards ‘Electric Only’, we have set the course for a fully electric future,” explains Markus Schäfer, Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. “We will also play a leading role in the field of battery technology. With Factorial as our new partner, we are taking research and development in the field of promising solid-state batteries to the next level. With this cooperation, we combine Mercedes-Benz’s expertise in battery development and vehicle integration with the comprehensive know-how of our partner Factorial in the field of solid-state batteries. We share the common vision of CO2 neutrality.”
In Stellantis’ official statement, CEO Carlos Tavares explains: “Our investment in Factorial and other highly recognised battery partners boosts the speed and agility needed to provide cutting-edge technology for our electric vehicle portfolio. Initiatives like these will yield a faster time to market and more cost-effective transition to solid-state technology.”
The significance of solid state battery technology (SSB), already considered one of the most promising advancements in electric mobility, lies in the use of electrolyte made of solid material rather than conventional lithium-ion. This solid construct potentially doubles energy density of each battery, as well as making the cells themselves safer with more reliable performance. Factorial’s own advances in SSB – ‘Factorial Electrolyte System Technology’ (FEST) – are said to increase range by up to 50 per cent, with less time required between charges. Two significant steps, as Mercedes’ Markus Schäfer explained, that “will make electric mobility even more attractive for our customers.”
In another notable claim, the costs per kWh are significantly reduced as most of the existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure can be repurposed – or “is drop-in compatible for easy integration” – for Factorial’s solid-state battery development.
These announcements follow recent news that Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd has partnered with Stellantis to provide the multi-national conglomerate with battery grade lithium hydroxide in Europe. Similarly, Mercedes-Benz recently showcased its own electrification strategy with a tease of “the most efficient electric vehicle [Mercedes has] ever built”, the Vision EQXX.