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Enevate Signs Deal With Germany’s CustomCells

Irvine-based Enevate has signed a fourth licensing agreement for its fast-charging electric vehicle battery technology, this time with CustomCells of Germany, for eventual use in cars, e-bikes and motorcycles.

CustomCells supplies six of the world’s 10 largest automakers and six of the top 10 German automotive suppliers. It plans to manufacture at multiple sites globally.

“There are both two-wheel and four-wheel applications that they are addressing,” Enevate CEO Bob Kruse said. “It’s basically their customer base. They are doing work with both.”

As for “two-wheel” uses, Kruse said it “could be scooters, it could be bicycles, it could be motorcycles. All are in the mix.”

Enevate, which was founded in 2005 in Irvine, is one of the early pioneers in a new class of Li-ion batteries that utilize silicon-dominant anodes.

The company says it has more than 640 patents worldwide issued and in-process, and its technology has been tested by more than 20 top battery and automotive manufacturers around the world. It licenses its technology to automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and battery manufacturers.

Enevate says its technology allows batteries to charge in as fast as five minutes, rivalling the time needed to fill up a tank of a gas car, while aiming to make advances “accessible and affordable to everyone.”

The Irvine firm’s advantages also allow for better functioning in cold environments.

The CustomCells deal “has been in place for a while” but Enevate only recently got the German battery cell maker’s agreement to make it public, Kruse told the Business Journal on Dec. 21.

Now CustomCells is “far enough along” with their customers.

The German company has built cells with Enevate silicon-dominant cell technology and the two companies have had joint commercial discussions with leading OEMs in the e-mobility sector.

‘Important Milestone’

“This license agreement is an important milestone for CustomCells to accelerate the industrialization of this high-silicon anode technology,” Dirk Abendroth, the German company’s CEO, said in a Dec. 12 statement that first announced the deal.

CustomCells employs more than 220 employees and operates development and production sites at its headquarters in Itzehoe and the university city of Tübingen.

Enevate’s three earlier licensing agreements include a production accord with South Korea’s JR Energy Solution announced in June.

Enevate had raised nearly $200 million as of last June. Enevate’s investors include Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (Alliance Ventures), LG Chem, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Fidelity Management & Research Company and Lenovo.

It’s aiming to raise another $75 million but has not said when the round would be completed.

“It’s a challenging time economically to be raising funds,” according to Kruse. “We have a lot of interest in it.”

“We’re fairly stable from the funding standpoint,” Kruse said.

Kruse said Enevate is receiving “small amounts” of revenue at the current time.

Enevate will also be applying for a Department of Energy grant for further expansion.

The company’s workforce is stable at about 75 employees.

“Our retention numbers are good.”

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