Ford and BMW are leading a $130 million investment round in a solid-state battery startup
"Ford Motor Co and BMW AG are leading a $130 million funding round in Solid Power, a solid-state battery startup, as carmakers work to reduce the cost of electric vehicles by investing in the development of affordable but powerful rechargeable batteries"
Ford Motor Co and BMW AG are leading a $130 million funding round in Solid Power, a solid-state battery startup, as carmakers work to reduce the cost of electric vehicles by investing in the development of affordable but powerful rechargeable batteries, the companies announced on Monday.
According to BMW battery cell technology chief Peter Lamp, the Series B investment round, which includes venture capital firm Volta Energy Technologies, allows Solid Power to expand in-house manufacturing capabilities and positions the battery maker to eventually supply future EVs, possibly by the end of the decade. Solid Power declined to say how much the company is worth as a result of the funding round.
"The partnerships and the capital that comes with it are really going to put us on a good footing to execute on our road map, which is simply 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.
Automobile manufacturers are racing to develop EVs in response to tightening CO2 emission standards in Europe and China.
Solid-state battery technology consists of a high-capacity energy storage device that outperforms lithium-ion batteries by replacing the liquid or gel-form electrolyte with a solid, conductive material. Among other advantages, the new technology provides higher energy density and improved safety due to the absence of flammable components. According to Solid Power, its technology can provide 50% more energy density than current lithium-ion batteries.
Solid-state battery technology, on the other hand, is more expensive than lithium-ion cell technology. It must also demonstrate its ability to operate and last in the real world, as well as expand its scale to meet industry demand.
Ford and Volta Energy announced their second investment in Solid Power on Monday. In 2018, both companies took part in a $26 million Series A round that also included Hyundai Motor Co and Samsung Electronics.
"We've worked with over a dozen different startups in this space, and we've been very impressed with the progress that Solid Power has made," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform, and operations officer.
Solid Power, based near Denver, raised $5 million in convertible debt earlier this year from BMW iVentures. It began working with the German automaker in 2016.
According to Campbell, the latest investments will result in Ford and BMW owning equal, unidentified stakes in Solid Power, which was founded in 2012 as a spinoff from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Ford is aiming to electrify key models in its lineup, including the Transit van later this year and the F-150 pickup in mid-2022, and it already sells the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV. It previously stated that it will invest $22 billion in electrification between now and 2025.
BMW aims to have five fully electric models available across the BMW and MINI brands by the end of 2021, and by 2023, it plans to have fully electric models available in almost all of its market segments.