Enevate raises fresh capital for silicon cells


California’s battery startup Enevate, backed by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, has raised a further 81 million US dollars in a new round of financing. The company is focusing on lithium-ion cells with silicon-dominated anode technology.

About a year ago, Enevate announced a new generation of its silicon lithium-ion cells, which should also be produced in large quantities. The Californian company announced at the time that the improved technology should enable extremely fast charging with high energy density and at lower material costs than conventional lithium-ion batteries while remaining compatible with existing battery production facilities.

The aforementioned 81 million US dollars (just under 67 million euros) has now been raised in a Series E financing round and increase the company’s funds raised to date via financing rounds to now 191 million dollars (just over 157 million euros). The currently closed round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company. Existing investors also participated, according to Enevate, including Mission Ventures and Infinite Potential Technologies.

Enevate says the new capital will significantly expand its pre-production line, help to hire new staff and grow in general. “As our fast-charge technology is implemented, we see a day in the not-too-distant future when EV drivers will be able to pull up to drive-thru charging stations that will look much like today’s gas stations, charge up and be back on the road in five minutes,” explains Enevate CEO Robert A. Rango.

Enevate claims to have more than 350 patents granted or in the process of registration. The company intends to commercialise this know-how by licensing its intellectual property to third parties, saying that it works with several automotive OEMs and electric car battery manufacturers. Enevate says that this enables the companies to use existing manufacturing infrastructure with minimal additional investment to build the next generation of electric cars. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is among those interested – the manufacturer alliance took a stake in Enevate in late 2018.

When the company announced its new generation of batteries almost exactly a year ago, the startup said it planned to commercialise its technology for 2024/2025 model year electric cars. In the current press release, the Californian company has not revealed more information on this front.

The Irvine-based company emphasises the fast-charging qualities of its technology. In January 2020, Enevate underlined this goal for the first time with somewhat more concrete figures. The new 4th generation XFC Energy technology with silicon-dominated anode technology allows a 5-minute charge to 75 per cent capacity at 800 Wh/L and 340 Wh/kg cell energy density, it said. Extrapolated to a typical BEV battery, this could provide power for an additional 390 kilometres (240 miles) in five minutes.

According to company founder and CTO Benjamin Park, the technology was developed for “large format pouch, prismatic and cylindrical EV cells”, combining a pure silicon anode with nickel-rich NCA, NCM and NCMA cathodes. This enables the cells to reach 1,000 cycles and operate at temperatures of “-20˚C and below”.

With reporting by Cora Werwitzke.


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