Factorial Energy, a US-based solid-state battery developer, has announced not one, but two new investments from automakers Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis. Each looks to jointly develop EV solid-state batteries with Factorial, joining previous investors Hyundai and Kia.

Factorial Energy is a solid-state battery developer based in Woburn, Massachusetts that claims to have developed a breakthrough in solid-state batteries for EVs that deliver 20-50% longer range per charge.

This is a result of its proprietary FEST (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology), which utilizes a solid electrolyte material, enabling safer and more reliable cell performance with high-capacity electrodes at a similar price point to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

In early November, Factorial Energy announced a partnership with Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corp. to jointly develop solid-state batteries for EVs. The investment will go toward solid-state technologies from the cell level through modules and vehicle integration.

Stellantis is a global automotive conglomerate with fifteen brands under its umbrella including Jeep, Ram, and Fiat. Alongside a separate announcement from fellow automaker Mercedes-Benz, both companies will join Hyundai and Kia in their own joint development agreements to invest in Factorial’s solid-state EV batteries.

EV solid-state batteries
Factorial Energy’s 40 Ah solid-state battery / Source: Factorial Energy

Mercedes and Stellantis join investment in solid-state EV batteries

Each automaker made separate press announcements today sharing echoed sentiments about its optimism for a fully-electric future, and excitement about Factorial’s breakthroughs in solid-state technology.

Stellantis, for example, announced the joint development agreement which includes investment in Factorial. The automaker previously pledged a target of 2026 to introduce the first competitive solid-state battery technology. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, spoke on the subject:

Our investment in Factorial and other highly recognized 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.

Mercedes-Benz shared similar vague details about the undisclosed investment in Factorial’s solid-state EV batteries, but its joint agreement had additional terms. As part of the investment agreement, Mercedes-Benz receives the right to put a representative on Factorial’s Board of Directors.

The German automaker plans to test Factorial’s technology as part of a limited series over the next five years. Mercedes-Benz Cars COO Markus Schäfer, also spoke:

By accelerating our Mercedes-Benz strategy towards ‘Electric Only’, we have set the course for a fully electric future. 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. To this end, we are investing a high double-digit million dollar amount in Factorial. 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. The continuous development of innovative battery technologies will make electric mobility even more attractive for our customers.

The battery developer stated that its FEST electrolyte has already been scaled to 40Ah cells, works at room temperature, and can be implemented into most existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing processes.

Next, it will work to further scale these solid-state batteries for the EV automakers who have invested.

Electrek’s take

Truthfully, I had never heard of Factorial Energy before today, but the company certainly has my attention now that several major automakers are invested.

That being said, Factorial is rather broad on the details of its technology. That’s fairly understandable given the competitive segment of solid-state batteries, as several companies look to be the first to truly scale the technology.

It obviously depends on the voltage, but 40Ah per cell is quite a bit more than your typical lithium-ion cell, although the solid-states from Factorial are larger (yet thinner).

Factorial Energy appears to be on the right track from the minimal details it has shared, but as with all solid-state batteries at this point, the real question is whether it’s indeed scalable to a price point that either matches or, better yet, beats lithium-ion batteries for EVs.

One thing’s clear, Factorial is capping off 2021 flush with global OEM cash that can help push its technology forward. We will see how it pays off (or not) in the coming years.

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