Energy Storage VC Volta Energy Technologies Invests in Solid Power Alongside BMW and Ford to Commercialize All Solid-State Batteries for Future EVs
Fund led by former US National Lab experts joins $130M Series B investment round with goal to put proven EV battery tech on the road
COLORADO and CHICAGO (May 3, 2021) – Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, today announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.
The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.
“Ford, BMW and Volta are making a critical investment in Solid Power with the goal of utilizing our all solid-state batteries in future passenger EVs,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Our longstanding partnership with Volta has enabled Solid Power to build and operate a world-class all solid-state battery manufacturing line that today produces batteries designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles. With our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power, we have formalized our path to electric vehicle integration.”
In 2018, with the financial backing of Volta strategic investors Albemarle, a leading supplier of lithium, and Hanon Systems, a global automotive supplier, Volta joined Solid Power’s Series A-1 investment round, investing alongside Ford, Samsung, A123, Solvay, and others. Equinor Ventures, also a Volta strategic investor, is now investing in Solid Power’s Series B round; as is Volta’s recently-launched Volta Energy Storage Fund.
“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability,” said Volta founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Chamberlain. “After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market unless it can be produced at scale with acceptable costs.”
Spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in 2017, Volta’s expert team assesses the crowded field of battery and energy storage innovations and invests in those breakthroughs with the greatest promise for commercial application.
“During my 28 years in the private sector and at national labs, I have seen firsthand how challenging it is for a single entity to invent, develop, and commercialize a new technology—or for any single investor to identify the right opportunity and enable a startup to take its innovation to market,” Chamberlain said.
Solid Power is currently producing 20 ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilizes industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.
“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW,” said BMW board member Frank Weber. “The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power. Together we have developed a 20 Ah all-solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence–important partners like Solid Power share our vision of a zero emission mobility.”
Both the BMW Group and the Ford Motor Company will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs suited to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.
“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”
“The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment,” said Chamberlain. “Solid Power has demonstrated that they have what it takes to get real batteries into commercial EVs.”
Solid Power is a part of Volta’s portfolio of investable technologies and businesses aimed at enabling the ubiquitous global adoption of electric vehicles and renewable power generation, which includes Conamix, Ionic Materials, Natron and Smart Wires. Volta’s new energy storage venture fund, launched in early 2021, complements Volta’s pledge fund, backed by strategic investors Albemarle, Exelon, Equinor Ventures and Hanon Systems.
Volta Energy Technologies is a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on identifying and investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations after performing deep diligence with the support of unparalleled global research institutions. Seeded by strategic corporate investors Albemarle, Exelon, Equinor and Hanon Systems, Volta connects innovators with investors and relevant industries that are adopting energy storage technology, delivering strategic returns for all. To learn more, visit www.plusvolta.com and follow @VoltaLink on Twitter.
About Solid Power
Solid Power is an industry-leading producer of all solid-state rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and mobile power markets. Solid Power replaces the flammable liquid electrolyte in a conventional lithium-ion battery with a proprietary sulfide solid electrolyte. As a result, Solid Power’s all solid-state batteries are safer and more stable across a broad temperature range, can provide a 50-100% increase in energy density compared to the best available rechargeable batteries, enable cheaper, more energy-dense battery pack designs and are compatible with traditional lithium-ion manufacturing processes. For more information, visit www.solidpowerbattery.com.