SoKor Auto Giants Team Up with US Firm for New Battery Tech

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South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have made names for themselves in the global market by producing fuel-efficient, stylish, and cost-effective vehicles. Now, they are poised to take on the electric vehicles scene as they have teamed up with an American solid-state battery technology developer.

Hyundai Corporation and Kia Corporation executives announced that both firms have partnered with Massachusetts green tech developer Factorial Energy. The Woburn, MA-headquartered firm has been developing safer, more sustainable power solutions for the past six years.

While the exact amount of money invested by the South Korean firms has not been disclosed, it was noted that both Hyundai and Kia are integrating Factorial technologies into the cell, module, and system levels of newer car models.

A mark of validation

This joint agreement marks the first time that Factorial Energy has received a strategic investment from a major player in the global automotive industry.

In a statement released to the media, Factorial CEO Siyu Huang stated that the dual partnership with Hyundai and Kia can be seen as another validation of her firm’s solid-state battery technology. Such unity heralds its entry into the rapidly growing market for vehicles powered by renewable energy.

“We look forward to demonstrating [our systemís] market readiness,” Huang said.

How does it work?

The solid-state battery developed by Factorial Energy is based on a system that uses solid electrolyte material to allow for safe and reliable cell performance with high-voltage and high-capacity electrodes.

While it works in a manner similar to that of the more commonly used lithium-ion battery, Factorial solid-state is actually safer and has the additional virtue of extending a fully-charged vehicle’s range by around 20 to 50%.

In April 2021, the company introduced the first 40 Amp-hour solid-state battery for electric vehicles. According to Factorial executive chairperson Joe Taylor these batteries are unique as they can achieve the weirdest possible range of OEM performance requirements and all the while offering unbeaten safety, energy density, and scalability. 

Taylor added that these could also be integrated into the standard lithium-ion battery manufacturing system and this makes Factorial a viable partner for automakers seeking to get their share of the growing electric vehicles market.

During the April launch, Huang stated that consumers would need to see significant improvements in terms of both price and performance of batteries if the electric vehicles sector expects to grow beyond its current 4% share in terms of global car sales.