Mercedes-Benz and the American Factorial Energy announced a collaboration in the field of solid-state batteries. The first prototypes of solid electrolyte batteries will appear next year. Then, within five years, the technology will be tested on a small series of cars. The seriousness of the intentions on the part of Mercedes-Benz will be confirmed by an “eight-figure investment”.
Mercedes-Benz and Factorial will be responsible for all stages of the development and implementation of solid-state batteries – from individual cells to the integration of ready-made units into cars. The first new batteries will receive models of the “top line” – this will be a small series of machines, which will actually test the technology. Working prototypes of batteries with solid electrolyte will appear next year, and they will be installed on serial electric cars within five years.
A solid electrolyte battery will significantly increase energy storage density and charging speed. In addition, these batteries are safer as they do not contain flammable substances. When compared with the available solutions, lithium-ion cells have a capacity of 285, solid-state cells – 400-500 watt-hours per kilogram, and only for exotic lithium-sulfur and lithium-carbon dioxide several thousand watt-hours are declared. >
However, not everyone believes in the future of solid-state batteries. Former Tesla employee Gene Berdichevsky, CEO of California-based Sila Nanotechnologies, calls them “false hope.” He believes that the problems of such batteries (growth of dendrites on the anode, sensitivity to temperature and pressure, etc.) cannot be solved in the foreseeable future, so traditional lithium-ion batteries will still be able to prove themselves.
In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz’s lineup includes the eCitaro G electric bus, whose buyers can choose between lithium-ion batteries with NMC cathode chemistry or solid-state lithium-polymer. The latter can only be charged with a capacity of 80 kilowatts, but their capacity reaches 441 kilowatt-hours versus 396 kilowatt-hours for NMC. In winter and with the heating switched on, the “solid-state” eCitaro G covers 170 kilometers without recharging.