Giant German automotive supplier Bosch has announced that it will acquire the Silicon Valley startup Seeo, a pioneer in solid-state battery technology.
Seeo’s cell design combines a solid lithium metal anode with a conventional porous lithium iron phosphate cathode and Seeo’s proprietary DryLite solid polymer electrolyte.
Seeo says its cells achieve specific energy of around 220 Wh/kg. CEO Hal Zarem said in December that the company aims to boost that to over 300 Wh/kg by 2020.
Seeo is one of several companies focused on developing a successor technology to current lithium-ion batteries, and major automakers are watching the space closely. GM has invested in Sakti3 and SolidEnergy, and VW is working with QuantumScape and OXIS Energy (and Apple is rumored to have acquired thin-film battery developer Infinite Power Solutions).
“Seeo’s technology will require quite a bit more investment and time before it is ready for a commercial debut,” said Lux Research Senior Analyst Cosmin Laslau. “Nonetheless, the buy is an almost necessary one for a supplier such as Bosch that has ambitions to be a key battery player in a crowded, competitive space.”
Lux predicts a buying binge in next-gen battery technology, and notes that there are several “intriguing companies in this solid-state space” that present tempting targets for partnerships or acquisition, including Imprint Energy, Ilika, and ProLogium.
“The pressure for longer driving ranges for less money will push Li-ion to the breaking point, necessitating next-generation technology. For now, solid-state batteries are the best positioned to take that crown, but other families like lithium-sulfur, high-voltage cathodes, and alternative ions are worth watching, too.”