Daily Management Review

Ford And BMW To Participate In $130M Investment Round In Solid-State Battery Startup


Ford And BMW To Participate In $130M Investment Round In Solid-State Battery Startup
A $130 million funding round in a solid-state battery startup, Solid Power, is being led by Ford Motor Co and BMW AG, the companies said in Monday. Car maker all over the world are trying to push down the costs of electric vehicles through investments in development of affordable but powerful rechargeable batteries.
Venture capital firm Volta Energy Technologies will also be among the firms that will participate in the Series B investment round. The funding will help Solid Power to expand in-house manufacturing capabilities which will put the company in a position to be able to supply batteries for EVs in the future – which can be as early as the end of the current decade, said BMW battery cell technology chief Peter Lamp.
The valuation of the company at the funding round was not disclosed by Solid Power.
"The partnerships and the capital that comes along with it are really going to put us on a good footing to execute on our road map, which simply speaking is qualifying this technology for vehicle use and getting them into vehicles in the not-too-distant future," Solid Power Chief Executive and co-founder Doug Campbell said in an interview.
With tightening CO2 emission standards in Europe and China, there is a rush among car makers to develop EVs.
At the core of the technology behind solid-state battery are high-capacity energy storage devices which are believed to be better than the lithium-ion batteries. In solid-state batteries, the liquid or gel-form electrolyte is replaced by a solid and conductive material.
Much greater energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries and greater safety because of reduced proportion of number of flammable components is among other benefits that the new technology offers.
50 per cent more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries is provided by its technology, Solid Power has said.
But the cost of solid-state battery technology is higher than those for lithium-ion cell technology. Solid-state batteries are however have to show that it can be operated and stay durable in the real world. Solid State batter makers also have to increase their scale of production in order to meet demands of the EV industry.
For solid-state battery technology, the latest announcement marks their second investment in Solid Power by the companies. In 2018, both the companies were part of the $26 million Series A round funding that included Hyundai Motor Co and Samsung Electronics.
"We've been working with more than a dozen different startups in this space and we've been most impressed with the progress that Solid Power has made," Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer, said.
Earlier this year, $5 million in convertible debt from BMW iVentures was raised by Solid Power which is based near Denver. Its partnership with the German automaker began in 2016.
Solid Power was established in 2012 as a as a spinout from the University of Colorado Boulder and after the completion of the latest investments, equal and unidentified stakes in Solid Power will be owned by Ford and BMW.