As part of Porsche’s ongoing plans to grow its electric car development and increase investment in battery technology which would make EVs more viable in the future, the company’s investment arm has headed up a Series C funding round for Group14 Technologies in Washington State. Porsche will inject 100 million dollars into the company as part of the 400 million dollar funding round. Group14 will use this capital investment as a springboard to accelerate production of its silicon-based anode materials for use in production lithium-ion batteries. The plan, ultimately, is for Group14 to provide supply of battery materials to Cellforce Group, which is another company in Germany that has Porsche as a majority stakeholder. Cellforce is set to supply future electric Porsche high performance models.
Demand for batteries is rapidly growing. Recent estimates say supply for electric vehicles is growing at about four times the speed of supply for battery materials, so it makes sense that Porsche is investing in the bottleneck. Group14 is aiming to build next-generation technology that is more efficient in space and cost than current lithium-ion batteries employed today. By using silicon as the battery’s anode material, Group14 and Cellforce will be able to deliver a significant increase in battery density. Batteries of the future will be able to store more electricity in the same dimension of battery as currently employed. That could equate to either more available range from the same size pack, or more crucially for us sports car fanatics, the same range from less battery. Less battery means less weight, which means better handling and acceleration! The silicon batteries are already proving to have less internal resistance as well, meaning it’ll be able to charge faster, and will absorb energy from regenerative braking more efficiently.
“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future. Our goal is to be a leading company within the global competition for the most powerful battery cell,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche AG. “It is not without pride that we are leading this broad-based funding round. It reflects that, through our venture capital unit Porsche Ventures, we have now gained a deep understanding of the world of venture capital.”
Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development, adds: “The characteristic properties of the new cell chemistry – fast charging, high performance and low weight – pay dividends directly into the Porsche brand core. They are virtually in line with the development goals that we are writing in the specifications for our prospective electric sports cars.”
“The anode material from Group14 has the potential to be a game-changer on the road to shorter charging times,” explains Markus Gräf, COO of the Cellforce Group.
Group14 currently operates at-scale in Washington State, and has plans to develop a second factory in South Korea later this year. With Porsche’s help, hopefully this future tech will be available sooner rather than later.