More Power Per Pound: 24M Lithium Ion Batteries Ahead of Curve

Cambridge lithium-ion battery startup 24M claims to have punched through a “state-of-the art industry benchmark” for electric vehicle power storage by packing more kilowatts into each kilogram of battery using its unique design and advanced manufacturing techniques.

The startup says it delivered batteries to industrial partners and the United States Advanced Battery Consortium—an Energy Department affiliate—that are denser than the industry standard of 250 Wh/kg, 24M says. The company says the batteries are commercially viable.

Density is key to electric vehicle because every pound of battery onboard the car or truck is another pound that the engine has spend precious power lugging around. Lighter, more powerful batteries could extend the range of electric vehicles and encourage more people to buy them.

24M, a spinoff of battery maker A123 Systems founded in 2010, developed its high energy density nickel manganese cobalt cells as part of a $7 million three-year contract awarded in 2016 by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium. The group has as its goal to develop 350 Wh/kg battery density by 2020.

24M says it delivered another high-density battery—at 280 Wh/kg— to an undisclosed industrial partner. These batteries will be used for qualification and verification by the partner to meet technical milestones.

It developed that battery using another technology that demonstrates its progress toward its internal goal of reaching 400 Wh/kg.

“It’s very gratifying to see science translated from the lab into innovative new products as 24M has done by developing and delivering these high energy density cells,” Naoki Ota, 24M’s chief technology officer, said in a written statement. “Moreover, we were able to leverage our novel electrode, cell and manufacturing approach to exceed 280 Wh/kg, a significant step towards delivering low-cost lithium-ion cells with industry-leading performance to the EV market.”

In December, the company announced it had raised $21.8 million in a Series D funding round led by Japanese companies Kyocera Group and Itochu, and it said it was moving forward on plans for multiple factories to produce batteries based on its technologies.

Lithium-ion cells have become the industry choice for consumer electronics, and electric vehicles, as well as residential power storage in products like the Powerwall by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). Varied estimates put the lithium-ion battery market currently in the tens of billions of dollars with expected double-digit growth compounding the overall market to more than $100 billion within the next decade.

Brian Dowling is a Senior Editor at Xconomy, based in Boston. You can reach him at bdowling [at] xconomy.com. Follow @be_d

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