GM invests in EV battery startup Soelect

General Motors’ investment arm GM Ventures, is among the investors in a US startup developing fast-charging lithium-metal batteries for electric vehicles, the company said Thursday. Soelect raised $11 million from GM Ventures, KTB Network and Lotte Ventures, an affiliate of Korea’s Lotte Chemical.

The startup based in North Carolina was founded in 2018 by Jin Cho, who has worked in the battery industry for 25 years, previously with LG, Samsung and Johnson Controls. As Reuters writes, citing Cho, Soelect already has more than 20 customers, mainly from the automotive industry.

Soelect considers lithium metal anodes as a key component in future battery systems. For its ‘LiX’ anode, the company claims fast-charging capabilities at up to 4C and up to 100% in 15 minutes. By comparison, QuantumScape announced this week that it could charge its solid-state cells to 80 per cent in 15 minutes. However, QuantumScape’s tests also showed that the battery lasts 400 cycles in the process. Soelect does not detail the cycle stability on its home page.

Instead, Soelect says its anode can be reused “without destroying the processes which are required for most recycling process.” The company does not provide further information on the anode’s composition or properties of battery cells with this technology. However, the company is also looking into polymer-based Solid Electrolyte Membranes (SEM).

Regarding (semi) solid-state battery solutions, Reuters quotes Spokesman Darryll Harrison of GM Ventures. He said GM’s investment in Soelect “complements” the automaker’s partnership with SES and “further expands our efforts to accelerate the advancement of battery chemistries.” More precisely, Harrison said Soelect’s lithium-metal technology “could serve as an enabler for both future lithium-metal and solid-state EV battery anode designs.”

KTB Network and Lotte Ventures participated in the financing round alongside GM Ventures. None of the companies disclosed their share in the investment but Lotte Ventures was the lead investor. Lotte Ventures is part of the South Korean group Lotte Chemical. “Lotte Chemical’s expertise in chemical/materials manufacturing, GM’s expertise in electric vehicle and battery development, and KTB’s venture capital experience will be combined to drive the development and commercialization of our technology and also help us attract top talent,” Cho said when commenting on the news.,,


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