Massachusetts startup Factorial Energy claims its solid-state battery technology is “safer than conventional lithium-ion technology, extends driving range by 20 to 50 percent, and is drop-in compatible for easy integration into existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure. ” Hyundai’s Cradle division — the concept techs who brought its Elevate stroller to CES 2019 — has been working with Factorial for a while, now the mothership is getting involved. Hyundai and Kia have signed an agreement to jointly test and develop Factorial’s solid-state technology for Hyundai Group’s future vehicles. The agreement includes the OEM making a “strategic investment” in the startup.
First the batteries. What is called the Factorial Electrolyte System Technology (FEST) relies on a patented solid electrolyte to make cells with high voltage, high capacity electrodes. In April of this year, Factorial came out of “stealth mode” with a 40 amp-hour solid-state battery cell for EVs that operates at room temperature. The company announced that packs with its FEST technology will outperform Li-ion units “without sacrificing pack life and exceeding applicable EV battery performance standards, including those for energy density, longevity and safety. ” In addition, CEO Siyu Huang said the construction process for her company’s batteries makes them compatible with lithium-ion battery production and Li-ion charging infrastructure.
This is Factorial’s first official public partnership with an OEM. Hyundai and Kia will work with Factorial at every step of battery integration, from the cell to manufacturing and integration into OEM vehicles. There’s no timeline for a retail debut, but the company could have Toyota and BMW looking for guidance, both OEMs invested heavily in trying to get solid-state batteries into production vehicles well before the end of the decade.