Stellantis, Mercedes lead solid-state battery startup funding round

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks along with Mercedes-Benz led an investment round into solid-state battery startup Factorial Inc. that totaled $200 million, the companies said on Thursday.

The Series D round with investors, including Stellantis NV and the luxury brand of Daimler AG, will help with accelerating commercial deployment of the electric-vehicle batteries that Factorial Energy says offer up to 50% more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries so vehicles can travel farther on a charge and are safer.

The Massachusetts-based company is constructing a pilot production facility to scale its large format cell output and produce batteries for customer testing. Factorial has developed a 40 amp-hour quasi-solid-state cell that works at room temperature, though batteries for EVs will be larger. The new facility will be in New England, and construction should start in early 2022.

CEO Siyu Huang of Factorial Energy, a developer of solid-state batteries, holds a 40 amp-hour quasi-solid-state battery cell that the company says has 20% to 50% more energy density than lithium-ion batteries in current electric vehicles, at the company's lab space in Woburn, Mass.

“This funding will enable us to not only advance core research and development, but also scale our team and invest in manufacturing facilities to drive commercial production," Factorial CEO Siyu Huang said in a statement. “We look forward to getting batteries in the hands of our customers for strenuous testing and validation at the next level.”

Stellantis says it wants to begin production of competitive solid-state batteries by 2026. Huang previously told The Detroit News that is about when she expects Factorial to begin mass manufacturing of the first-generation quasi-solid technology, with fully solid-state cells likely to come closer to 2030. The startup eventually hopes to form joint ventures with automakers to manufacture its cells near assembly plants.

“Stellantis is full-speed ahead on its electrification transformation with 33 electrified models available right now, and eight battery electric vehicles coming in the next 18 months,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. “With our partners, including Factorial, we will quickly electrify our brand portfolio with safe, sustainable, and affordable solutions.”