Why do all the research yourself when you can join the ones that already do that?
Imagine a Shark Tank program dedicated to electric cars. This is more or less the idea behind the EV and Battery Challenge. The difference is that this startup competition is not promoted by ABC but rather by Hyundai, Kia, and LG Chem. The three Korean companies want to help the best ideas flourish – and get a slice of the cake if it proves to be delicious.
The EV and Battery Challenge will open for applications exclusively through a dedicated website from June 22 up to August 28. After a preliminary analysis of business feasibility, technology, innovation, and so forth, the startups with the best ideas will go through an online interview in October. COVID-19 times, remember?
That final selection will allow a few companies to go to the Hyundai CRADLE in November. That is an open innovation platform the Korean company has in Silicon Valley. At that point, the startups will discuss if they will have a deeper partnership with any of the Korean titans or if they prefer to keep independent.
The ideas that will be evaluated should tackle:
- EV next-generation battery materials to increase mileage and safety
- control and maintenance to increase battery efficiency and ease of use
- Reuse and recycle technologies such as used batteries to reduce battery costs
- Battery productivity improvement and quality control
- Electric vehicle driving parts
- Electric vehicle charging and energy management
- Electric vehicle personalization service.
We strongly believe the focus will be on cell materials and improvement. As we have already discussed here many times, battery packs respond for 51 percent of the total cost of an electric vehicle. Any cost reduction in such a core component will make electric cars that lose money make a profit and profitable ones become cash cows.
When you develop stuff inhouse, you may make money with patents or with the edge you may get with the breakthroughs if you achieve any. If you don’t, you end up with meaningful losses, including having to buy the better technology someone else developed. We are sure LG, Hyundai, and Kia have their own researches going on, but it is always a good idea to listen to other people’s ideas. One of them could put them way ahead of the pack.