VW invests $10m in battery start-up to further e-mobility plans

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The Volkswagen Group is investing US$10m in US battery startup Forge Nano in line with its plans for e-mobility.

Dr Axel Heinrich, head of Volkswagen Group Research

Forge Nano is investigating a material coating technology that could further improve the performance of battery materials and the investment – which is subject to authority approvals – will see VW provide support for industrial trials of this technology.

Volkswagen has been collaborating with Forge Nano on advanced battery material research since 2014. The start-up, which is headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, is investigating processes for scaling atomic layer deposition (ALD) to create new core-shell materials, especially for battery applications. ALD is a chemical process for applying atomic scale coatings one atom at a time.

With its specific ALD technology, Forge Nano aims to boost energy density of vehicle battery cells, which could help enhance EV range.

The move forms part of VW’s work to partner with strategic battery cell suppliers and develop its own specialist know-how in battery research. The group intends to offer more than 50 battery-electric models by 2025, accounting for about a fifth of its entire model portfolio.

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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.