Mercedes, Stellantis step into same solid state battery company
Stellantis, the mother company of the former FCA and PSA groups, is deepening its battery relationship with Mercedes. Both car manufacturers are taking an equity stake in Factorial Energy, an American start-up focused on the R&D of solid-state batteries.
Previously the French company took Mercedes on board the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) for the development and production of vehicle batteries.
Both car manufacturers call it a strategic investment, intending to introduce solid-state batteries in their cars by 2026. In the first phase, the collaboration will develop battery cells, proceeding to the production of complete modules and vehicle integration later on.
Mercedes has in-house expertise in the production of battery modules. It produces the packs for the EQS in its plant in Hedelfingen. It hopes to bring some of that expertise to Factorial.
Joint development of cells will start as of next year. The German car manufacturer added that it wants to integrate the technology into a limited number of vehicles as part of a small series within the next five years.
The size of the investment remained undisclosed by Stellantis as well as Mercedes. However, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, commented that “to this end, we are investing a high double-digit million dollar amount in Factorial.”
Solid-state batteries are regarded as the next big thing for electric vehicles. It replaces the liquid electrolyte with solid material, enhancing the safety – the usual liquid is very flammable – while boosting range and charging times.
Factorial says that its FEST technology (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology) can provide 50% more range from a single charge. At the same time, using some controversial rare earth materials like cobalt is avoided.
Furthermore, Factorial says that it is validating their ‘breakthrough’ battery with several other OEMs. However, the identity of those partners is not unveiled.
These types of partnerships are becoming widespread in the automotive industry. As car manufacturers are gearing up for a fully electric car portfolio, they spend billions on innovative battery start-ups. Ford and BMW are placing their bets on Solid Power; the Volkswagen Group is backing QuantumScape.