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Solid-state battery maker Factorial secures two deals with EV makers months after leaving stealth mode

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:02 -- Paul Crompton

Solid-state battery firm Factorial Energy has signed deals with two vehicle makers to develop the lithium-ion technology for use in electric vehicles.

The first deal with German company Mercedes-Benz will see the pair jointly develop the technology to include entire modules with the aim of testing prototype cells potentially as soon as next year. 

Mercedes aims to integrate the technology into vehicles as part of a small series within the next five years. 

Mercedes, part of the Daimler Group, will invest an undisclosed “high double-digit” million dollar amount in Factorial, with the vehicle OEM obtaining the right to delegate a representative to Factorial’s board of directors.

Solid-state batteries use an electrolyte made of a solid material, instead of the commonly used liquid electrolyte, to transport ions between the electrodes when cycling.

Solid electrolytes are safer and enable the use of new types of anodes, such as lithium-metal, that offer higher energy density over traditional lithium-ion battery cells which could help increase EV driving range and shorten charging times.

Dieter Zetsche, the former chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz, joined Factorial’s advisory board in May.

Factorial emerged from stealth mode in May with a 40Ah solid-state cell for electric vehicles and other applications. 

The move followed Factorial naming Joe Taylor— the former chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America— as its executive chairman as the company begins its next phase of growth in the EV market.

High voltage traction battery

Factorial’s second deal was with Stellantis N.V., with the companies signing a joint development agreement to advance the former’s high-voltage traction solid-state battery technology. 

The agreement also includes a “strategic investment” from Stellantis. 

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said: “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.”

In July, Stellantis announced its goal of commercialising the first competitive solid-state battery technology by 2026. 

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