Porsche buys into innovative battery material producer
Group14 Technologies (Woodinville, Wash.) plans to accelerate its worldwide production of anode material for lithium-ion batteries with the capital increase totalling $400 million: Before the end of this year, Group14 plans to lay the foundation stone for another factory for the production of so-called Battery Active Materials (BAM) in the USA. Porsche is acting as lead investor with $100 million.
In future, Group14 will also supply the battery cell manufacturer Cellforce Group from Tübingen, in which Porsche holds a majority stake. Cellforce was founded in 2021 by Porsche and Customcells Holding. The joint venture plans to produce self-developed high-performance battery cells with silicon anodes for small series, motorsport and high-performance vehicles in Germany from 2024. The Cellforce battery cells are expected to be used in electrically powered Porsche vehicles with high-performance powertrains.
The cooperation with Group14 secures Cellforce access to a high-value future technology that will make the next generation of battery cells significantly more powerful than today’s lithium-ion batteries. The chemistry of the new cells relies on silicon as the anode material. This can significantly increase the energy density compared to current series batteries. This means that the batteries of the future can store more energy for the same size – and thus offer a greater range than batteries on the market today. The novel chemistry also reduces the internal resistance of the battery. As a result, it can absorb more energy during recuperation and be charged faster at the same time.
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“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Board Member for Finance and IT at Porsche AG, commenting on the importance of the battery for the sports car manufacturer “Our goal is to be one of the leading companies in the global competition for the most powerful battery cell.”
Michael Steiner, Porsche Board Member for Research and Development, added: “The characteristic properties of the new cell chemistry – fast charging, high performance and low weight – pay direct dividends to Porsche’s brand essence. They are practically congruent with the development goals we are writing into the specifications for our future electric sports cars.”
Following an intensive review process, Cellforce Group has selected Group14 Technologies as the manufacturer of the most promising silicon anode material for Porsche’s requirements. “Group14’s anode material has gamechanger potential on the road to shorter charging times,” emphasises Markus Gräf, Managing Director of Cellforce Group.
Group14 operates a commercial-scale production facility for BAM in Washington State. The technology has already proven itself in batteries for electric vehicles and for extremely fast charging applications. Another factory will go into operation in South Korea in 2022. In addition to Porsche, several other companies are participating in the current round of financing – from global financial investors to strategic investors from the battery industry (OMERS Capital Markets, Decarbonization Partners, Riverstone Holdings LLC, Vsquared Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures and others). “Group14’s mission is to improve the performance of today’s lithium-ion and future solid-state batteries to accelerate the global energy transition,” said Rick Luebbe, co-founder and CEO of Group14. “With the support of a diverse consortium of investors, Group14 aims to develop the next generation of silicon battery technology to support visionary automakers like Porsche.”
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