It was our pleasure to participate in the 2020 EV Seminar Series presented by Rho Motion. Annette Finsterbusch, EnPower’s CEO, joined an expert panel including Kurt Kelty, VP of Automotive at Sila Nanotechnologies, and Steve Farmer, Innovation Director at AMTE Power, to discuss what’s next for battery technology development.
The three companies represented a range of innovation; including EnPower’s fast charge focus, Sila’s increased energy density, and AMTE Power’s focus on power and safety. But despite the different development paths, all three panelists agreed on one thing: the timing for better batteries is now.
The theme of the presentations was palpably different than other industry panels, which often talk about long term visions and technology disruption. All three companies were grounded in the realities of the industry today and presented how they aim to fill a market need in the short-term.
At EnPower, our engineering-based innovations are immediately scalable because we avoid new materials development, a long and expensive path, and are drop-in compatible to the existing cell manufacturing process. In addition, our licensing business model enables us to serve high-volume, mass market OEMs while minimizing capital investment.
Mr. Kelty also emphasized the importance of not changing the existing Lithium-ion manufacturing process. To meet their short-term goals, Sila has recognized that the consumer electronics market provides lower volume opportunities and can be a step towards automotive applications.
In contrast to EnPower’s licensing model, AMTE Power has already built a low volume manufacturing plant and is targeting high performance and niche markets with batteries that prioritize power and safety.
The panel wrapped up with questions from the audience. In response to cost, all panelists agreed that the automotive industry demands a lower $/kWh, but described challenges as a startup in procuring materials at low volumes and getting to the scale necessary to compete on price.
And what about upcoming disruptions? Panelists agreed that neither solid state batteries nor significant material changes to the cathode are expected to be commercialized in the near term.