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Hyundai solid-state batteries to boost range by 50%

Joint venture with Factorial Energy to provide safer, longer lasting EV batteries

4 Nov 2021

HYUNDAI and Kia have announced that it will partner with Massachusetts-based start-up company Factorial Energy to jointly develop and test high-density solid-state batteries for use in electric vehicles. The technology is said to be “safer than conventional lithium-ion technology” is “drop-in compatible” and can “extend driving range by 20 to 50 per cent”, Hyundai says.


The Factorial Electrolyte System Technology (FEST) batteries utilise a proprietary, solid electrolyte to create cells with “high-voltage and high-capacity electrodes”, the company’s 40Ah cells providing what it says is performance which surpasses existing EV battery performance without sacrificing longevity, including “those for energy density, cycle life, and safety”.


The batteries can be manufactured on most existing lithium-ion production equipment and charged with existing Li-ion charging infrastructure, but at this stage no firm timing for adoption of the technology in production vehicles has been announced.


“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. We can help unlock mass adoption of electric vehicles, and the resulting environmental benefits, through our safe and long-range batteries,” Factorial Energy CEO, Siyu Huang said.


The Hyundai-Kia partnership with Factorial Energy is the latest of several similar ventures between vehicle manufacturers and solid-state battery developers. BMW (SolidPower), Ford (SolidPower and Panasonic), GM (SolidEnergy Systems), Honda (SolidEnergy Systems), Mercedes-Benz (Hydro-Quebec), Stellantis (TotalEnergies and CATL), Toyota (Panasonic), and Volkswagen (QuantumScape Corporation) have all announced similar collaborations in recent years. 


Toyota says it will introduce solid-state batteries in its hybrid vehicles first, and says the technology is “a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries”. 


To date Toyota has filed over 1000 patents related to solid-state batteries, the Japanese car-maker saying the technology has the potential to offer close to 1000km range from a single charge of just 10 minutes while operating safely within a temperature range of between -40 and +100 degrees Celsius.


Hyundai and Kia have yet to make any range claims of its solid-state batteries but is understood to be “six to seven years” deep into research of the technology. The Korean duo have not announced timing of a prototype or production model at this point in time.


BMW is understood to be aiming for a production-ready vehicle with solid-state batteries to be on the road by 2025. The German manufacturer says it will have a prototype model ready by 2022, its US$130 million (AUD$176 million) investment in Denver-based company Solid Power providing improved energy density and packaging considerations when viewed against existing battery technology, BMW says.


Solid Power utilises sulphide-based solid electrolytes in its batteries, the material assisting ions in a “back and forth movement” to generate electricity. It is understood a new production facility to manufacture 100Ah battery cells is already under development.


“The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles,” BMW Group board member for management and development, Frank Weber said in a statement.

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