Mercedes-Benz Bets on Solid BEV Future

Mercedes-Benz is placing its BEV chips in the square marked solid-state battery in a bid to keep in the race towards full electric powertrains.

It has joined forces with US solid-state battery specialist Factorial Energy to develop the next-generation battery technology with the aim of testing prototype cells as early as next year. The goal of the partnership is to start with the cell and extend development to include entire modules and integration into the vehicle battery.

Many believe solid-state batteries are one of the most promising technologies in the field of electric mobility. The decisive difference is the use of an electrolyte made of solid material instead of the commonly used liquid electrolyte. The electrolyte is needed to transport ions back and forth between the electrodes when charging and discharging the battery. Solid electrolytes are expected to make a safer, more stable, battery as well employing new types of anodes, such as lithium-metal anodes. These offer an almost doubled energy density compared to today’s lithium-ion battery cells. As a result, they promise an increase in range while at the same time ensuring short charging times.

Based in Woburn, Massachusetts, Factorial Energy claims to have developed solid-state batteries that offer up to 50% longer range per charge, increased safety, and cost parity with conventional lithium-ion batteries. Its technology also claims to be the first solid-state battery that has been scaled to 40Ah cells, works at room temperature and can adopt majority of existing cell manufacturing equipment.

Markus Schäfer, responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO, said: “By accelerating our Mercedes-Benz strategy towards ‘Electric Only’, we have set the course for a fully electric future. We will also play a leading role in the field of battery technology. With Factorial as our new partner, we are taking research and development in the field of promising solid-state batteries to the next level. To this end, we are investing a high double-digit million-dollar amount in Factorial. With this cooperation, we combine Mercedes-Benz’s expertise in battery development and vehicle integration with the comprehensive know-how of our partner Factorial in the field of solid-state batteries. We share the common vision of CO2 neutrality. The continuous development of innovative battery technologies will make electric mobility even more attractive for our customers.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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