Hyundai Motor Co. will invest 114 billion Korean Won, nearly US$100 million in US battery startup SolidEnergy Systems (SES) developing lithium metal batteries. Industry experts said on July 4, 2021, that Hyundai recently signed an equity investment agreement with the startup to morph into a future mobility solutions provider.
SolidEnergy is a 2021, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) incubated startup that developed a prototype lithium metal battery. This next-generation battery made up for the shortcomings of existing lithium batteries. Based on this technology, it signed a joint research contract with General Motors in March.
GM preparing battery for next generation EV
SolidEnergy and General Motors (GM) plan to construct a lithium metal battery test production plant near Boston by 2023 and commercialize it in 2025. Earlier, GM has announced a strategic investment and commercial collaboration with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) to secure lower-cost lithium in the US to develop its next generation of EV batteries to mitigate environmental pollution and lower the cost of EVs.
GM started the Ultium battery project in 2019 with assistance from LG Chem, breaking ground on its Giga factory in Ohio. The joint venture with LG has resulted in a second factory for battery manufacturing located in Tennessee and a new joint venture with SolidEnergy Systems (SES).
Korean companies up the ante for solid-state battery
In Korea, SK Corp has already invested 30 billion in Solid Energy in 2018 and invested 40 billion more in May to secure its third-largest shareholder status after Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek and founder Qichao Hu.
Hyundai Motor is strengthening its ‘battery internalization’ strategy through investment. HM also aims to mass-produce the next-gen solid-state battery by 2027. It has supported its research team to develop next-generation batteries at the research and development headquarters and is focusing on the solid-state battery development
At a conference held in April, 2021, Hyundai Motor announced that, “We are developing the solid-state battery technology, and planning to mass-produce in the 2030s through the strategic cooperation with specialized battery companies.”