Ionblox, a next-gen EV battery startup that makes super-fast, powerful batteries for eVTOLs and electric cars, just announced a second close of its Series B round at an increased $32 million.
Ionblox’s ramp-up for eVTOLs and electric cars
The Fremont, California-based company develops batteries with lithium-ion cells that have pre-lithiated silicon dominant anodes.
Ionblox says its batteries achieve up to 50% higher energy density, five times more power, and an extreme fast charge of 10 minutes to 80%. It’s currently producing its large format pouch cells of up to 50Ah on its pilot production lines.
Ionblox’s batteries can be used in both eVTOLs and EVs, and it’s working with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler to achieve recharge time that “can finally last the same amount time as a gas fill-up.”
The batteries’ cell performance has been verified by the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. The company is also partnering with semiconductor equipment giant Applied Materials.
Ionblox will use the increased Series B funding to scale its technology, develop advanced high-power cells for electric aviation, and prototype fast-charge cells for electric vehicles.
What is a lithium-ion battery with pre-lithiated silicon dominant anode?
Lithium-ion batteries with pre-lithiated silicon dominant anodes use silicon as the main material for the anode. In conventional lithium-ion batteries, the anode is made of graphite, but in Ionblox’s batteries, a pre-lithiated silicon-dominant anode material is created by combining silicon with a small amount of lithium.
The use of silicon in the anode provides several benefits over graphite, including a higher capacity for lithium storage. This leads to an increase in the energy density of the battery, so more energy can be stored in a smaller size, resulting in lighter, more compact batteries.
Pre-lithiated silicon anodes are more stable during charging and discharging compared to graphite anodes, reducing the risk of lithium metal buildup and extending the overall lifespan of the battery.
However, pre-lithiated silicon anodes also have some disadvantages, such as a lower conductivity and a tendency to undergo mechanical degradation during repeated charge and discharge cycles, which can reduce the overall efficiency and performance of the battery.
Despite those downsides, pre-lithiated silicon anodes are considered to be a promising solution for improving the performance of EV Li-ion batteries.
A May 2022 study published on ScienceDirect says that “silicon-based anode is considered to be the most promising anode candidate for lithium-ion batteries due to its high energy density, environmental friendliness, and high content in the earth’s crust.”
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