Bob Kruse says he’s a car guy, a battery guy, and an electric vehicle guy.
It’s a unique combination that’s propelled him to the head of fast-charging battery developer Enevate Corp. in Irvine.
With a resume that stretches back to General Motors Corp. in the late 1970s, and most recently to EV company Faraday Future Intelligent Electric in Los Angeles County, Kruse spoke with the Business Journal on Dec. 8, his fourth day on the job as president and CEO of Enevate.
“Clearly, given my background, I’m here to address auto and electric vehicles, but it doesn’t start and stop there,” he said, adding the company’s closely watched technology “is ready for commercialization now.”
Kruse replaces Robert Rango, who led the company for 6.5 years and will keep his seat on the company board.
Rango to Board
Enevate’s technology is designed to charge an electric-powered automobile as quickly as a motorist fuels up a car at the gas station, or about five minutes. Other uses for the company’s batteries include boats, motorcycles and power tools.
Enevate licenses its technology to battery makers.
“My push and my focus in coming to Enevate is to get a path to revenue, escape economic gravity and become a viable commercially successful technology company in the battery space,” Kruse said.
At Faraday (Nasdaq: FFIE), which he joined in 2019, Kruse was a senior vice president responsible for product development, advanced technology, and led product execution strategy.
Enevate said in February it had signed a lease for more than 125,000 square feet at 34 Parker Drive in Irvine, a newly built facility near a pair of new Rivian Automotive facilities in the Spectrum area of the city, and down the street from the headquarters of another EV maker, Karma Automotive.
Kruse served as chief technology officer of Karma from January 2017 to October 2019.
“I’m well familiar with Orange County, the technical space for Orange County supporting the EV Southern California hub that seems to be building and growing here,” Kruse said. He called OC a “technology hub” for electric vehicles.
Next Capital Raise
Enevate has raised $191 million in capital so far; investors include Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (Alliance Ventures), LG Chem, Samsung Venture Investment Corp. and Fidelity Management & Research Co., among others.
Kruse makes it clear more capital is being sought for its silicon-dominant anodes and cells battery technology.
“We are planning our next round of capital raise,” according to Kruse. The 17-year-old company is “still in need of capital.”