Volkswagen has acquired a stake in leading battery material research startup, Forge Nano. The two companies have been collaborating from 2014. The Volkswagen Group will be paying USD 10 million for its stake in Forge Nano so that it could increase its expertise in the field of battery research. Forge Nano is currently working on the development of a material coating technology that might significantly improve the performance of battery materials. On its part, Volkswagen will lend support for conducting industrial trials of this new technology. The transaction will be finalized after getting regulatory approval from the authorities.
Forge Nano is based in Louisville, Colorado, and is investigating processes for scaling atomic layer deposition (ALD) to create new core-shell materials, which are likely to be used in battery applications. ALD is a chemical process that involves applying atomic scale coatings one atom at a time. Forge Nano has its very own ALD technology with which it says it can boost the energy density of vehicle battery cells.
This higher energy density can have a positive effect on the range of electric vehicles. Volkswagen has been working with Forge Nano by contributing its expertise in the field of automotive and battery technology.
The Volkswagen Group is striving to broaden its range of electrified models and plans to offer more than 50 battery-electric models by 2025. These models will account for about 20 percent of its entire model portfolio. In order to attain this goal, Volkswagen is working closely with strategic battery cell suppliers and developing its own specialist expertise in battery research. As part of this strategy, it is also making venture investments in other firms like international start-ups which can reinforce Volkswagen’s electrification strategy with their innovative technologies.
Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research, said: “At Volkswagen, we want to be the world’s leading provider of e-mobility. We are continually expanding the battery technology know-how required for this purpose. We need to safeguard our technological competence for the future. Cooperation with start-ups is a key element in these efforts. We are acting as a partner to Forge Nano and intend to provide the team with opportunities to carry out industrial trials with its innovative technology.”
Dr. Paul Lichty, Founder and CEO of Forge Nano, said that his company’s atomically precise surface engineering technology is ushering in a new era of high performance materials. He said that Forge Nano was excited to partner with a company that has such a strong commitment to commercializing innovation.
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