Factorial opens US solid state battery plant
The eternally promising technology is still some way from reaching mass production
Start-up battery developer Factorial has opened a battery manufacturing facility in the suburbs of Boston, USA.
The $50mn facility, which will become operational later this year, will be the largest solid-state battery assembly line in the US, with a 200MWh assembly line.
"This facility will enable us to manufacture cells to meet the needs of our automotive partners and progress our mission to commercialise solid-state batteries," says Siyu Huang, CEO of Factorial.
The plant will be situated near Factorial’s research and development facility, where the firm fine-tunes the processes for manufacturing battery cells at mass production speed and volume.
Factorial’s claims its 100 Amp hour (Ah) cell quasi-solid-state batteries have 20-50pc higher energy density when compared to typical lithium-ion batteries, and are also safer.
Most of the equipment used in the facility will be similar to that which is used for lithium-ion battery manufacturing, helping to keep costs down.
“Our facility will manufacture automotive-sized solid-state batteries at pre-production speed and volume, illuminating a clear path to mass production and reaching economies of scale,” says Joe Taylor, executive chairman of Factorial.
Factorial’s batteries have been UN-certified and tested by automakers including Germany's, Amsterdam-headquartered Stellantis and South Korea's Hyundai.
Advocates of the technology say solid state batteries could improve EV battery charging times and capacity, helping commercialise the sector more rapidly.
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Japanese OEM Toyota — which has also been developing solid-state batteries with Japanese electronics company Panasonic and recently claimed it had made a major breakthrough — now says that solid-state batteries can deliver 700-mile range and full charging in under fifteen minutes. The firm wants to commercialise the technology by 2027.
But analyst DNV says a number of challenges still need to be overcome before the technology see widespread adoption.
The US is making a concerted effort to grow a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs). Last year's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides a tax credit for domestic battery production equal to $35/kWh for the production of battery cells.
“As a US company, we are also proud to contribute to the onshoring of battery manufacturing for EVs and advancement of battery innovation for a differentiated supply chain," adds Huang.