Volvo Cars, through its venture capital arm - Volvo Cars Tech Fund - has made an investment in StoreDot, an Israeli company developing extreme-fast charging battery technology.
StoreDot is working on silicon dominant lithium-ion cells, which are promised to offer a very high charging rate - replenishing of 100 miles (160 km) of range should take just 5 minutes. This new tech, called "100in5," is expected to reach "mass production" by 2024.
We must of course note that charging performance depends not only on the battery itself but also on other elements, including available fast-charging power and charging standards.
If we assume that an electric vehicle requires 25 kWh to travel 100 miles, then a 5-minute charge would require a power of roughly 300 kW. The question is whether StoreDot's technology will allow maintaining such a rate at a wide state-of-charge window or if it's just a peak number for some optimum range - for example 20-50% SOC.
Nonetheless, faster charging is always an interesting topic, and StoreDot already has attracted multiple "strategic partners" like: Daimler, BP Ventures, Ola Electric, Samsung, TDK, EVE and VinFast.
In the case of Volvo, the partnership with StoreDot will be arranged between the joint venture, established by Volvo and Northvolt - which will have its own R&D lab and battery gigafactory in Sweden.
"The collaboration between both companies will mainly take place within the battery technology joint venture that Volvo Cars established last year with Northvolt, the Swedish leading battery maker. Through its investment in StoreDot, Volvo Cars has secured access to any resulting technology from the collaboration."
StoreDot says that it is currently working on battery tech for next-generation EVs with "many" global automotive manufacturers and is already shipping "100in5" cells to undertake real-world testing.
It sounds like the technology is in an advanced stage. To start production in 2024, it would be high time to think about an investment in the first plant.
To commercialize the product, StoreDot works with EVE Energy, a Chinese battery manufacturer. An interesting thing is that the 4680-type cylindrical cell format (introduced by Tesla) is on the table as well.
Alexander Petrofski, head of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund said:
“We aim to be the fastest transformer in our industry and the Tech Fund plays a crucial role in establishing partnerships with future technology leaders. Our investment in StoreDot perfectly fits that mindset and their commitment to electrification and carbon-free mobility matches our own. We’re excited to make this a successful collaboration for both parties and work towards bringing this groundbreaking technology to the market.”
Dr Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot CEO said:
"We are extremely excited and proud to be entering into a collaboration with a premium automotive brand. Volvo Cars' commitment to zero emissions electric vehicles is hugely impressive and one that fits perfectly with StoreDot's mission. We are working to ensure that EV drivers will never have to be concerned with anxiety over charging times, currently the major barrier to EV ownership and a cleaner world. StoreDot is also offering global OEMs a clear technology roadmap that will start with '100in5' silicon-dominant batteries by 2024 but extends into the next decade when we are already on track to achieve 100 miles in two minutes of charge."
Meir Halberstam, StoreDot CFO said:
"We are moving closer to the mass production of our batteries and this investment from Volvo Cars Tech Fund is yet another huge vote of confidence in StoreDot and our mission. It represents a significant and high-profile element of our current Series D funding round. This gives us the financial firepower to bring our revolutionary batteries to market quicker and boost ongoing R&D into solid-state technologies."