VW to take over 25% of 24M Technologies
Volkswagen and the US battery start-up 24M Technologies have concluded their announced strategic partnership. The German carmaker is taking a stake in 24M and will have access to 24M’s SemiSolid technology for the next generation of its lithium-ion batteries.
Volkswagen had announced three strategic partnerships in the battery sector in December 2021 – in addition to 24M with raw materials company Umicore (joint venture to supply VW battery factories with cathode material) and Vulcan Energy, which is known to be mining lithium in the Upper Rhine Graben.
Under the partnership, VW will participate in 24M’s Series F financing round with an undisclosed three-digit million amount (in US dollars). Volkswagen will also “make further investments to advance automotive developments based on 24M’s core technology”, according to the US startup. The Wolfsburg-based company will also establish a wholly-owned subsidiary that will work with 24M to develop “a production technology for SemiSolid battery cells for automotive applications”.
The 25 per cent stake will also give VW a position on 24M’s board of directors, which will be filled by Dr Steffen Blase, head of Group Mergers & Acquisitions at Volkswagen AG. “The SemiSolidTM manufacturing platform offers the potential to substantially reduce capital and operating costs,” says Blase. “Through our newly established subsidiary and our strategic partnership with 24M, we are focused on bringing the SemiSolidTM platform to automotive applications and believe we can develop cost-effective processes to meet the increasing demand for EVs.”
Naoki Ota, president and CEO of 24M, sees Volkswagen’s involvement as a contribution in the effort to “significantly expand the global reach of SemiSolidTM batteries and help fast track electric vehicle adoption”. “Through strategic partnerships with energy innovators like GPSC, Kyocera, AXXIVA, Lucas TVS, FREYR, Koch Strategic Platforms and now VWAG, 24M has built an ecosystem to rapidly scale the SemiSolidTM manufacturing platform and develop a better, cleaner energy future,” Ota said.
The US-based company emerged from battery manufacturer A123 in 2010. 24M took a big step towards commercialising its semi-solid technology in early 2021, announcing a licensing agreement with Norway’s Freyr in January. Freyr wants to produce battery cells in its battery factory in Mo i Rana, which are to be installed in maritime applications and stationary storage.