Envia's battery vision: cheaper, better electric cars
Envia CEO Atul Kapadia says the battery pack his company has developed is a step toward cheaper, longer-range electric cars.
Electric cars could get cheaper and go much farther than the current generation, thanks to a breakthrough in battery technology announced by a California startup this week.
Envia Systems, Inc. of Newark, California, which is backed in part by General Motors, says it has developed a test battery that packs more energy into less space. By doing so, the company claims, its battery could slash the cost of battery packs for long-range electric vehicles by as much as 50 percent.
That’s a big deal because the battery packs for such cars as the Chevrolet Volt or the Tesla Model S are the single-most-expensive part of the vehicle and a reason their cost is out of reach for most consumers.
“In an industry where energy density tends to increase 5 percent a year, our achievement of more than doubling state-of-the-art energy density and lowering cost by half is a giant step towards realizing Envia’s mission of mass-market affordability of a 300-mile electric vehicle,” Envia Systems chairman and CEO Atul Kapadia said.
The company has been working on improving battery packs for electric vehicles since its founding in 2008. It has received grants from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, and the California Energy Commission. In 2011, Envia also raised $17 million in venture cash, including $7 million from General Motors Ventures LLC, last year.
All told, the company has raised $27.7 million in venture money since 2008.
A cheaper battery that can go longer distances has been something of a holy grail for the manufacturers of electric cars—hampered by both the cost and range of vehicles.
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