Meet the new contender for EV battery supremacy.
It’s Our Next Energy Inc. (ONE), a Michigan-based energy storage technology developer that’s raised money from the Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and auto investors like BMW i Ventures, the contract manufacturer, Flex and the battery investment expert, Volta Energy Technologies.
Founded by Mujeeb Ijaz, a longtime battery exec who previously worked at the startup A123 Systems before getting poached to work on Apple’s secretive electric vehicle project, Our Next Energy uses a technology called Lithium Iron Phosphate in its battery packs. The technology doesn’t have the same supply chain issues of nickel and cobalt-based chemistries and has less risk of thermal runway (which can cause battery fires).
“What makes ONE a particularly attractive investment to Volta is that the company is led by experienced and mature leaders who are innovating at both the cell and the pack level,” said Volta founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Chamberlain. “This combination of technology improvements in engineering design, manufacturing technology, along with chemistry and architecture makes ONE unique, and a technology leader in this regard. In ONE, we see a unique ability to integrate next-generation ideas into to the fast-developing landscape of battery technologies and use cases.”
One of its battery designs can apparently supply trucks and SUVs with a range of 750 miles — effectively ending the argument over range anxiety in vehicles.
Mujeeb Ijaz, Founder and CEO of Our Next Energy Inc. with the Aries™ battery pack, which uses a unique Structural Cell to Pack™ architecture to allow increased range and reduced cost while eliminating nickel- and-cobalt based chemistries.
“Mujeeb and his team at ONE have cracked the code for building long-range batteries that not only push energy density levels but also cost barriers,” said Carmichael Roberts, an investor with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, in a statement. “This is the type of battery innovation we need to eliminate consumer range anxiety for mass adoption and also make electrification more attractive for trucks and fleets.”
The first battery to come off of Our Next Energy’s production line will be the “Aries”. The company claims it will have better range than its counterparts and will be cheaper to produce than the nickel and cobalt chemistries that other manufacturers use, the company said.
The second product, called “Gemini”, is the battery that makes range anxiety a thing of the past. That 750 mile range on a single charge is a range-extender that can be paired with the Aries.
Our Next Energy isn’t the only company to use what’s called a cell-to-pack approach to increase energy density. In China, manufacturers like SVOLT Energy Technology Co. and CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd.) also use the technique.
What differentiates Our Next Energy is its ability to use less filler material to manage the heat created when batteries charge and discharge energy and special control systems to ensure its cells charge equally inside a battery pack.
Production on the Aries will begin in 2022 with the Gemini following closely after.
“Leveraging our Series A investment, ONE will accelerate product development of both Aries and Gemini batteries,” said Mujeeb Ijaz, Founder and CEO of Our Next Energy, in a statement.