SES and GM will build a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts.
SES (formerly SolidEnergy Systems) has completed a Series D funding round of $139 million, which interestingly was led by General Motors (GM Ventures). Other noticeable names among investors are SK Inc., Temasek, Applied Ventures LLC, Shanghai Auto and Vertex.
SES, for multiple years now, has been working on the next generation lithium-metal anode (Li-Metal) batteries for electric vehicles. GM is one of the strategic automotive partners.
The two intend to build a pilot manufacturing facility for prototype cells in Woburn, Massachusetts and start pre-production by 2023.
"Following strategic additions to its global leadership team and the announcement of a joint development agreement with GM, SES is uniquely positioned to commercialize Li-Metal cells. As a result of the recent joint development agreement with GM, SES and GM will build a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts for a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023."
The company says that its cells have multiple advantages, including:
- High energy density: >400 Wh/kg and >1000 Wh/L
- Fast charging: to 80% of battery capacity in just 15 minutes
- Safety: "Our electrolyte greatly enhances battery safety"
- Optimization: "Optimized by AI: Our AI-powered algorithm is trained on terabytes of data, optimizing battery performance, safety, and charging across a wide variety of applications."
- Cost-efficient and scalable: "can be produced at high volume using existing Li-ion infrastructure"
One of the images on SES' website shows the "Apollo" long automotive cell, envisioned for 2022 (the other two are for drone applications):
Who knows, maybe at some point in the future General Motors will use those new cells to double the range of electric cars. Currently, GM invests in the manufacturing capacity of more conventional solutions with LG Chem's LG Energy Solution.
Qichao Hu, founder and CEO of SES said:
"This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand our technical, business and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialization of Li-Metal batteries,".
Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and chief technology officer and president, GM Ventures said:
"GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for customers who want more range at a lower cost. This investment by GM and others will allow SES to accelerate their work and scale up their business."
Yangtaek Kim, executive vice president of SK, Inc. said:
"SK Inc. is continuously looking to invest in key technology companies in battery materials, which are becoming more important with the rapid growth of the EV market. We are pleased to be backing SES, which is making great progress in the next-generation battery development, and we believe it will bring meaningful change to the global EV industry."
The other manufacturers, like Volkswagen, Ford or Tesla to name just a few, are also looking into the future and research for a new groundbreaking battery tech. Volkswagen invested in QuantumScape, while Ford in SolidPower.