Lithium-metal battery SPAC deal looks to ‘electrification revolution’

Lithium-metal battery SPAC deal looks to ‘electrification revolution’

Business news |
By Rich Pell

Founded in 2012 as a spin-out company of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), SES is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance hybrid lithium-metal (Li-metal) rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). The transaction, says the company, will create the first publicly-traded hybrid Li-metal battery company that combines the high energy density of Li-metal with cost-effective manufacturability at scale.

The company’s hybrid Li-metal batteries use a high-energy-density Li-metal anode, a protective anode coating, a proprietary high-concentration solvent-in-salt liquid electrolyte, and artificial intelligence (AI) safety features that are designed to allow for greater performance and manufacturing efficiencies than today’s all-solid-state Li-metal batteries. This hybrid Li-metal battery approach, says the company, provides the superior energy density of Li-metal via the proven manufacturing efficiencies of lithium-ion batteries and is expected to enable the next generation of high-range and affordable EVs.

The company entered into a joint development agreement with Hyundai and Kia in May to develop “A-Sample” Li-metal batteries for Hyundai’s EVs. This followed a March 2021 announcement of a joint development agreement with General Motors, a supporter of SES since 2015, to deliver a high-performance “A-Sample” Li-metal EV battery at a new pre-production manufacturing facility in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

“Our battery performance is industry-leading under the full range of automotive operating environment and temperature, and is capable of delivering energy density of 400 Wh/kg with fast charge capability up to 80% in less than 15 minutes while meeting cycle life and safety requirements for electric vehicles.” says Dr. Qichao Hu, SES Founder and CEO. “Our partnerships with world-class automakers like General Motors, Hyundai and Kia will further accelerate the commercialization of our technology, and position our company to emerge as the leading Li-metal battery supplier to more global automakers starting in 2025.”

Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp. was formed to seek a target in industries related to the paradigm shift away from fossil fuels towards the electrification of industry and society.

Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer says, “As part of our diligence, we retained several of the world’s leading battery advisors to assess SES’s approach to Li-metal batteries as well as commissioning independent third-party testing of the performance of its technology. As a result of our review, we concluded that SES’s approach to Li-metal batteries has led to it being the most competitive industry player today when measured by performance. This, together with its overall economics and wide-scale commercialization plan with key automakers, means that SES is the only next-generation battery technology company that will be successful in commercializing its batteries by the middle of the decade.”

The transaction values the combined company at a pro forma implied equity value of approximately $3.6 billion (inclusive of a $300 million earn-out) with total expected gross proceeds of $476 million (assuming no redemptions by Ivanhoe’s public shareholders). Including expected transaction proceeds and existing cash on SES’s balance sheet, SES is expected to have over $600 million of cash at transaction close, which will help fund the company’s future growth and transition into its commercialization phase in 2025.

The transaction is supported by strategic investors and global automakers that include General Motors, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, all of which are parties to existing automotive A-sample joint development agreements with SES, as well as Geely Holding Group, SAIC Motor, LG Technology Ventures, and Foxconn, key global automakers and battery cell manufacturers in Asia, the world’s largest EV market. Upon completion of the proposed transaction, the combined company will operate under the SES name and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SES.”


Related articles:
Lithium-metal battery startup to go public
Solid-state battery developer inks SPAC deal
Silicon Li-ion battery SPAC deal promises mobile benefits
Lithium metal battery tech ‘could be a game-changer’

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