How does 50% more range sound?
It's safe to say that whichever automaker can start producing an electric vehicle with a solid-state battery first will have a huge advantage over its competitors. Solid-state batteries promise faster charging times and a range that is almost double what lithium-ion batteries can offer. BMW is one of the automakers looking to capitalize on solid-state batteries, and the same goes for Toyota. But both of these manufacturers could be beaten to the punch by Kia and Hyundai. The Korean companies have announced a deal to jointly develop solid-state batteries with Factorial Energy.
Factorial has spent the last six years investing in solid-state battery research. That investment seems to have paid off as the company partners with the Korean automotive giants to test Factorial's novel solid-state battery technology.
As part of the collaboration, the batteries will find their way into Hyundai electric vehicles. However, Hyundai hasn't yet indicated when this will happen or what the first EV will be. That means that new EVs like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 will continue with non-solid-state batteries for the time being. However, the Factorial partnership did come with some impressive claims.
Factorial's FEST (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology) uses a proprietary solid electrolyte material. This, along with other advances, will enable a driving range that is greater by 20 to 50 percent over what's offered now. If one considers the Kia Niro Electric's 239-mile range currently, then FEST could theoretically increase that to as much as 358 miles.
FEST is also said to be safer than lithium-ion technology, and it is drop-in compatible. This means that it can integrate into existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure without major upgrades being required.
"Our partnership with Hyundai is yet another validation of our solid-state battery technology, and we look forward to demonstrating its market readiness in Hyundai vehicles," said Factorial Energy CEO Siyu Huang. "We can help unlock mass adoption of electric vehicles - and the resulting environmental benefits - through our safe and long-range batteries."
Factorial is based in Woburn, Massachusetts, and has an impressive advisory board. Its members include former Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields, and Dieter Zetsche, former Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz. This is Factorial's first significant strategic investment from a major automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) group.