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Ford, BMW lead $ 130 million investment round in solid-state battery startup

Ford, BMW lead $ 130 million investment round in solid-state battery startup

Editorial:Eva Wei Issue Date:2021-07-13 Views:2504

Ford Motor Co (FN) and BMW AG (BMWG.DE) led a $130 million funding round for solid-state battery startup Solid Power, as automakers push to lower the cost of electric vehicles, the companies said on Monday. By investing in the development of affordable but powerful rechargeable batteries.


According to BMW's head of battery technology, the Series B investment, which includes venture capital firm Volta Energy Technologies, has enabled Solid Power to expand its in-house manufacturing capacity and enable the battery maker to eventually supply future electric vehicles, possibly Peter lamps by the end of the century. Solid Power declined to say how much the round valued the company.


"The partnership and the funding that comes with it will really put us on a good footing to execute on our roadmap, which is simply to make this technology eligible for vehicle use and bring them into the vehicle future not too far away, "Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power, said in an interview.


solid-state battery

A Solid Power manufacturing engineer holds two 20 ampere hour (Ah) all solid-state battery cells for the BMW Group and Ford Motor Company, at Solid Power's pilot production line in Louisville, Colorado, U.S.

April 23, 2021. Picture taken April 23, 2021. Will McKenna/Solid Power/Handout via REUTERS


Carmakers are racing to develop electric vehicles in the face of tighter carbon-dioxide emissions standards in Europe and China.


Solid-state battery technology involves a high-capacity energy storage device that improves on lithium-ion batteries by replacing liquid or gelatinous electrolytes with solid conductive materials. Among other benefits, the new technology offers higher energy density and better safety due to a lack of flammable ingredients. Solid Power says its technology can deliver a 50 per cent higher energy density than current lithium-ion batteries.


However, solid-state battery technology is more expensive than lithium-ion technology. It must also prove that it can work and remain durable in the real world, and must be scaled up to meet industry demands.


Monday's announcement marks the second investment in Solid Power by Ford and Walter Energy. Both participated in A $26 million Series A funding round in 2018, including Hyundai Motor Co. (005380.KS) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.ks).


"We have been working with more than a dozen different startups in the space, and we have been most impressed by the progress Solid Power has made," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer.


Solid Power, which is based near Denver, raised $5m in convertible bonds from BMW iVentures earlier this year. Its partnership with the German carmaker began in 2016.


After the latest investment, Ford and BMW will own equal, unidentified shares in Solid Power, which was founded in 2012 as a spin-off from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Campbell said.


Ford is electrifying key models in its lineup, including Transit minivans later this year and F-150 pickup trucks by mid-2022, and has already sold the all-electric Mustang Mach-e SUV. The company had previously said it would invest $22 billion in electrification by 2025.


By the end of 2021, BMW aims to introduce five all-electric models in its BMW and MINI brands, and said it would introduce all-electric models in almost all market segments by 2023.


Calling the technology a "game changer," Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T) plans to introduce solid-state batteries on electrified platforms by 2025.


Another solid-state battery startup is Volkswagen (VOWG_P.DE) backed QuantumSscape (QS.N), which aims to launch its battery in 2024. It went public last year through a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).


Mr Campbell declined to say whether Solid Power was exploring a listing with SPAC.


article source: www.reuters.com

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