Ola Electric invests in fast-charging battery start-up StoreDot

    The Israeli battery tech start-up is working on a silicon-dominant anode battery that promises a full charge in five minutes.

    Published On Mar 23, 2022 03:54:00 PM

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    Ola Electric has invested an undisclosed amount in an Israeli battery technology start-up called StoreDot, which is working on a silicon-dominant anode battery that promises a full charge in five minutes. As part of the investment, Ola will have access to StoreDot’s fast-charging battery technology as well as exclusive rights to manufacture batteries integrating StoreDot’s fast charge technology in India.

    To achieve its revolutionary charging times, StoreDot’s XFC batteries replace the graphite anode seen in traditional lithium-ion batteries with a proprietary “silicon-dominant anode”. The start-up also seems to be working on solid-state battery technology. In addition to the promised charging time of five minutes, the XFC batteries also claim an energy density of 300Wh/kg, which is higher than current Li-ion batteries that max out at around 250Wh/kg.

    StoreDot was founded a decade ago and is yet to roll a product out to market. Two years after being founded, it claimed to have developed smartphone batteries capable of being fully charged within 30 seconds. These don’t appear to have made it into production so far.

    In 2015, its CEO acknowledged that its scientific claims have not been peer-reviewed. Meanwhile, a publication also concluded that StoreDot's claimed capabilities have no basis in published, peer-reviewed literature.

    Sample prototype batteries shown by the company last year used germanium instead of silicon. Many suggest that the use of the far more expensive and commercially unfeasible germanium in prototypes was because it is easier to implement than silicon. The company says it is now working to replace the germanium anodes with silicon anodes.

    With this investment by Ola Electric, StoreDot’s list of investors now adds another big name to a list that already includes companies like Daimler and BP. While the presence of large companies on StoreDot’s investor list does give some credibility to the company, it also brings with it tremendous pressure for the company to deliver on its claims within the promised timeline.

    It’s clear that StoreDot’s XFC batteries are still very much in the development stage and not yet ready for production, with the company hoping to roll them out in 2024. The EV space is heating up at a staggeringly rapid pace, with most manufacturers trying to get an edge over the competition.

    This move by Ola Electric to invest in a company that is (seemingly) close to rolling out a new product could give it a distinct advantage if it is able to incorporate these batteries in its scooters. This approach is not very dissimilar to the acquisition that spawned the company’s electric scooters themselves. Back in May 2020, Ola acquired Etergo, an Amsterdam-based start-up manufacturing e-scooters. These scooters formed the basis for the S1 and S1 Pro that are on sale today.

     
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