General Motors is leading a Series B funding round worth $60 million in Silicon Valley battery technology start-up Mitra Chem, the automaker said in a press release.
The Mountain View-based battery company is reportedly an “AI-powered battery materials innovator,” championing the idea that iron-based cathode active materials (CAM) would enable broader adoption of electric vehicles.
The Detroit automaker and Mitra Chem will collaborate to develop iron-based CAM such as lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) to power EVs riding on GM’s Ultium architecture.
The collaborative solution is touted to produce more affordable and accessible batteries. The funding should enable Mitra Chem to ramp up operations and bring its solutions to the market at an accelerated pace, said GM.
The start-up uses a proprietary machine-learning algorithm to reduce the lab-to-production timeframe 10-fold, as per its website. A hallmark of Mitra Chem’s lab is an “atoms-to-tons acceleration platform.”
It uses simulations and machine learning techniques to accelerate formulation discovery, cathode synthesis optimization, and cell-lifetime evaluation. The start-up also claims to have an in-house cloud platform for cathode development, cell prototyping, and more.
If Mitra Chem is successful, its batteries could power GM vehicles by the end of this decade, GM vice president Gil Golan told CNBC.
GM’s investment will fuel the start-up’s mission to develop, deploy and commercialize US-made, iron-based cathode materials that can power EVs, grid-scale electrified energy storage, and beyond, said Mitra Chem CEO and co-founder Vivas Kumar in a statement.
In the second half of 2023, GM will accelerate production of multiple Ultium-based models, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck, Blazer EV, Equinox EV, Silverado EV RST First Edition, Brightdrop Zevo 400, and Cadillac Celestiq.
GM’s most popular EV continues to be the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV – a chapter the automaker will close in December 2023 by ending their production to pave the way for its recently confirmed Ultium-based successor.
Last week, GM unwrapped the Cadillac Escalade IQ, a boisterous full-size electric SUV with 750 horsepower, 450 miles of range, and over 200 kilowatt hours of usable battery capacity. Its targeted start of production is the summer of 2024.
GM plans to go the whole nine yards in the EV race, offering flamboyant models like the Escalade IQ and Celestiq, alongside entry-level options like the Bolt EV successor, and everything in between.