Battery Startup Ionic Materials Gets $65M Jolt From Nissan & Others

[Updated 2/16/18, 5:27 pm. See below.] Big automakers are betting that solid-state battery technology from Massachusetts-based startup Ionic Materials could eventually challenge the standard lithium-ion batteries used in today’s electric vehicles.

Woburn, MA-based Ionic announced Wednesday it secured $65 million in a Series C funding round. The investors include Alliance Ventures—a venture capital fund backed by carmakers Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault—as well as Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, according to reports by Bloomberg and the Boston Business Journal. Joy previously invested in Ionic and sits on its board, according to a press release. A123 Systems, the lithium-ion battery maker for cars, said it has also invested in Ionic. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has also backed Ionic, and partner Jan van Dokkum chairs the startup’s board. [Updated to include A123 investment.—Eds.]

Ionic is developing solid polymer electrolyte materials aimed at replacing the liquid—and flammable—electrolyte used in current batteries. Ionic says its technology could enable safer, cheaper, and longer-lasting batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and energy grid storage.

But it’s still early days. The company will use the funding to expand its 40-person staff and set up a pilot production facility in Woburn, the Boston Business Journal reported. Ionic also has an agreement with the Alliance automakers to conduct joint research and development.

Jeff Bauter Engel is Deputy Editor, Tech at Xconomy. Email: Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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