GM Ventures invests in startup building fast rechargeable battery technology – TechCrunch

Startups

Soelect, a battery technology startup based in North Carolina, has closed an $11 million Series A round. It plans to use the new capital to scale up its fast-charging anode technologies that could enable next-generation batteries for electric vehicles.

In addition to principal investor Lotte Chemical and investment company KTB Network, GM Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of General Motors, signed up as a strategic investor. GM Ventures tends to invest in companies that provide transportation safety or sustainability solutions that can then be implemented in future GM vehicles, manufacturing facilities and operations companies, said GM spokesman Mark Lubin.

“One of the competitive advantages of adding Soelect to GM Ventures’ portfolio is its fast-charging anode technologies, which could serve as an enabler for both future lithium-metal and solid-state EV battery anodes,” Lubin told TechCrunch. “This investment, and others in the space, further expand GM Ventures’ efforts to accelerate the advancement of battery technologies that can increase range, improve efficiency and lower costs in future GM products.”

Soelect isn’t the only battery company the VC has invested in recently. It also invested in and partnered with SolidEnergy Systems (SES), an MIT spin-out startup with an “anode-free” lithium metal battery that improves overall battery life and makes batteries twice as energy-dense. SES and GM are building a prototyping facility in Massachusetts and aim to have a high-capacity pre-production battery by 2023.

While GM is building two battery manufacturing facilities for its Ultium batteries with partner LG Chem, the company is open to other potentially fruitful battery partnerships. In October, the automaker shared plans to build a new battery research facility in Michigan to help it devise battery technology that will result in long-lasting, fast-charging, long-lasting batteries. GM aims to produce batteries with an energy density of up to 1,200 watt-hours per liter and reduce costs by at least 60%.

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