Israel-based startup StoreDot has been making waves in the battery world for the past few years with its ‘ultra-fast charging battery’.
As we often point out, It’s hard to gauge the credibility of new battery technologies without hard data, but in the case of StoreDot, It is starting to get some massive backing from giant companies.
Today, British oil company BP announced that it invested $20 million in the startup.
David Gilmour, vice president, business development of BP Ventures, made the announcement today:
“The technology to support EVs is advancing rapidly and BP Ventures is committed to identifying and investing in companies that we believe are at the cutting edge of this industry. StoreDot has shown significant progress in the development of ultra-fast charging, both in mobile phone and vehicle applications. BP looks forward to working alongside them, as an investor and strategic partner, to bring their technology from the lab to the vehicle.”
BP’s investment follows another $60 million round led by Daimler last year.
The company is developing a lithium ion-based battery technology incorporating “chemically synthesized organic molecules of non-biological origin”, which they claim can enable an insane charge rate while maintaining a good energy density.
StoreDot describes its battery technology:
“StoreDot’s core technology incorporates chemically synthesized organic molecules of non-biological origin. These innovative molecules demonstrate uniquely tunable optical and electrochemical properties, which allow for enhanced performance of energy storage devices.”
They claim that their battery system can be fully charged within 5 minutes and enables a range of up to 300 miles (480 km), which generally means a battery pack of over 75 kWh of energy capacity in an average sized car.
It’s not clear how they would handle such an insane charge rate at the charger level.
Here’s a short video about the technology:
StoreDot is also leveraging its battery tech for mobile devices with the same fast-charging claims. They claim that the tech will be in mobiles as soon as next year.
Not much else is known about StoreDot’s technology, but the company says that it aims to bring it to mass production at its own facility called ‘OneGiga’ by 2022.
They are planning to build the factory in Shenzhen, China, and they aim for a scalable capacity of 1 to 10 GWh per year.
Oil companies have been increasingly interested in electric vehicle charging as they start to see electric vehicles slowly taking over the car industry.
Shell is leading the charge through its involvement in the new Ionity charging network in Europe, building its own chargers at its own gas stations, and recently acquiring a charging network with over 30,000 chargers.
BP is also now apparently on board with this investment, but they also recently invested in a US-based electric vehicle charging station manufacturer.
Tesla also recently deployed Powerpacks at a BP wind farm.
If you have a weird feeling about an oil company buying into a battery technology, it’s maybe because you remember that oil companies once bought and killed some EV tech. Chevron did it with the battery tech in the original Toyota RAV4 EV and there were a few other examples in the 1990s.
But I doubt they could do it again today with companies like Tesla pushing ahead with the existing technology without the need for important “breakthroughs.”
When it comes to claims of “battery breakthroughs”, it’s extremely difficult to distinguish what has real potential and what is simply PR fluff.
It’s relatively easy to make a battery really good at one thing, like fast-charging, energy density, durability, or low cost, but it’s extremely hard to make a battery good at all those things. And they need to be in order to be viable.
Therefore, we often see claims that a new battery has the highest energy density or is the quickest at fast-charging, but they often fail at one or more of the other important metrics.
It’s why we need to take those claims with a grain of salt.
Though when it comes to StoreDot, at least it looks like they are being taken seriously by Daimler and now BP.