Porsche has participated as the lead investor in the Series C financing round of Group14 Technologies. In the round, the manufacturer of silicon-carbon technology for lithium-ion batteries raised a total of 400 million dollars.
A quarter of the total sum of 380 million euros came from Porsche Ventures – the investment subsidiary of the Zuffenhausen-based company invested 100 million dollars (95 million euros). Other investors in the Series C round come from the financial sector or battery industry.
Group14 Technologies wants to use the capital increase to accelerate its worldwide production of anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The foundation stone for another factory for the production of active materials is to be laid in the USA before the end of this year. The company is based in Woodinville in Washington state and already operates a production facility for battery active materials there – another factory is scheduled to come on stream in South Korea in 2022. So far, Group14 has partnerships with Slovakian company InoBat, Farasis and Israeli battery developer StoreDot.
“Group14 is committed to elevating the performance of today’s lithium-ion and tomorrow’s solid-state batteries to accelerate the global energy transition,” says Rick Luebbe, co-founder and CEO of Group14. “With support from a diverse consortium of investors, Group14 strives to deliver the next generation of silicon battery technology to support visionary OEMs like Porsche.”
According to Porsche, Group14 will also supply the Cellforce Group from Tübingen, in which Porsche holds a majority stake, in the future. The cooperation with Group14 secures Cellforce access to a high-quality future technology. Cellforce is currently building its battery factory near Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg, with production scheduled to start in 2024. Cellforce wants to produce 100 MWh of high-performance battery cells per year – primarily for Porsche.
Many details about the cells are not yet known. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume had spoken in the past that the carmaker was working on cells with silicon anodes. This was later confirmed by Cellforce – in order to achieve a higher energy density and a lower internal resistance. The latter is important for energy absorption, for example during recuperation or fast charging.
One thing is clear: Cellforce chose Group14 as the manufacturer of “the most promising silicon anode material for Porsche’s requirements” “after an intensive testing process”. “The anode material from Group14 has gamechanger potential on the way to shorter charging times,” emphasises Markus Gräf, Managing Director of the Cellforce Group.
“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future. Our goal is to be a leading company within the global competition for the most powerful battery cell,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche AG. “It is not without pride that we are leading this broad-based funding round. It reflects that, through our venture capital unit Porsche Ventures, we have now gained a deep understanding of the world of venture capital.”
From a technical point of view, Chief Development Officer Michael Steiner is also in favour of the investment: “The characteristic properties of the new cell chemistry – fast charging, high performance and low weight – pay dividends directly into the Porsche brand core. They are virtually in line with the development goals that we are writing in the specifications for our prospective electric sports cars.”
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