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GM Backs a Third Entrant in Battery Race

Apr 21, 2021

GM recently led a $139 million Series D investment round for Singapore-based SES (formerly Solid Energy Systems) to advance its thin lithium metal anode battery.  It joins the race to get to 500+ Wh/kg with an ability to charge to 80% in 15 minutes, go for 1000+ cycles, and cost under $80/kWh.   GM is the third major automaker to back a battery technology company in order to get a proprietary edge in the convenience and safety of a menu of new EVs.  Ford along with Hyundai and others has invested $26 million in Colorado-based Solid Power which uses a lithium-metal anode and a solid-state electrolyte.  VW has invested a fresh $100 million into San Jose-based QuantumScape with its lithium-free, ceramic separator-based technology.   And of course, Tesla has made a major bet based on its new technology from a Canadian research group.  SES captures the competitive landscape in an interesting graphic below.  

You can read more on the SES announcement here.  

Personal Note:  Fifteen years ago, at all the energy storage conferences, the consensus was that batteries were never going to do better than 180 Wh/kg.  It was almost a given.  That spurred a great deal of interest in fuel cells as an alternate and higher energy-dense way to create a rechargeable power pack.  How things have changed. 

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

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