Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with US-based solid-state battery specialist Factorial Energy to jointly develop next-generation battery technology, with a goal of testing prototype cells as early as next year.
The two companies will collaborate on developing solid-state batteries and work together on integrating them into Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Specifically, Mercedes and Factorial are aiming to set new standards in the area of energy density which will enable longer vehicle range with shorter charging times.
Factorial don’t give much away on their website regarding their work or history. Based in Woburn, Massachusetts, however, Factorial Energy claims to have developed “breakthrough solid-state batteries” that they say offer up to 50% longer range per charge, increased safety, and cost parity with conventional lithium-ion batteries.
Solid-state batteries differ from traditional lithium-ion batteries by the use of solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, in comparison to the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
Enhanced performance for solid-state batteries is the result of increased safety from the use of solid electrolytes – which transport ions back and forth between the electrodes when charging and discharging the battery – as well as the use of new types of anodes, such as lithium-metal anodes, which offer almost doubled energy density when compared to traditional lithium-ion battery cells.
The collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Factorial Energy will start with cell development, before moving on to the development of an entire module and eventually integration into the vehicle battery pack.
To further boost Factorial Energy’s work, Mercedes-Benz is also taking an equity stake in Factorial. In turn, Mercedes-Benz now has the right to delegate a representative to Factorial Energy’s board.
“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,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
“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.”
Mercedes-Benz has said that they are aiming to integrate the resulting solid-state battery technology into a limited number of vehicles as part of a small series within the next five years.
“For Factorial Energy, it is a privilege to collaborate with Mercedes-Benz, which basically invented the automobile,” said Siyu Huang, Co-founder and CEO of Factorial.
“We look forward to working with them to further innovate the automobile with our clean, efficient and safe solid-state battery technology.”