Romeo Power takes on Tesla with US battery gigafactory

Romeo Power takes on Tesla with US battery gigafactory

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Romeo Power has raised $30m (€30m) to finish a fully automated 113,000 square foot manufacturing facility near Los Angeles and ramp production of its lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicle (EV) and stationary storage applications.

The company was founded by engineers and designers from SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Samsung and has $65m in initial orders scheduled for delivery in 2018. Current customers include US and European electric car maker, manufacturers of motorcycles and forklifts, industrial players such as power designers and robotics companies.

The modular battery packs – comprised of cylindrical lithium-ion cells – can be used in cars, power sport vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and forklifts and range from 1 kWh to 1 MWh. The same battery pack design is used for a stationary energy storage for business called PowerStack that harvests and stores electricity from the grid during off-peak hours.

“We’ve seen incredible momentum in a short period, and we’re scaling manufacturing as fast as we can to meet demand,” said Michael Patterson, founder and CEO. “There’s a massive market opportunity for energy storage technologies.”

The technology offers the highest energy density by 25 percent, providing dramatically increased range in EVs and is optimized for the fast charge times, decreasing standard battery charge times by 15 percent to 30 percent. All the designs are built with inherent thermal runaway mitigation and feature multiple fault-tolerant software and hardware to protect against cross cell propagation.

“We’ve applied technologies developed for applications in space and aerospace, and we’ve improved upon them to create products that break new ground for EVs and stationary energy storage,” said co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Porter Harris, who developed the battery technology powering SpaceX’s F9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.

The packs include an advanced battery management system based on control-oriented, physico-chemical models. The company designs, engineers, test, and produce all of its lithium-ion battery packs on-site, and the facility features the only research and development and testing lab on the West Coast.

When the factory is finished later this year it will produce 1 GWh of capacity on a single shift by the end of 2017 and will quadruple its capacity in 2018 to 4 GWh per shift.

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