Robert A. Rango, President and CEO
You're late for work, again. Just like everyone else, the first thing that comes to your mind before you leave from home- -"Will my cell phone be able to get through the day?" In this fast-paced world we live in, batteries have dominated our entire lifestyle, all the way from the analog watches on our wrists to the Tesla Powerwall that powers modern homes. Even though batteries have found varying applications within myriad parts of our lives, few aspects remain constant when it comes to the expectations from the technology: longer runtime, safety, and charging capability. Considering the reach of battery usage, several players in the energy sector have presented their take on cell-based energy storage but few have managed to make significant improvements in terms of its reliability and usage. To add to this, advancements in rechargeable battery technologies—from rechargeable NiCd batteries to NiMH to first-generation improvements in Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells— have required all-new manufacturing processes, battery and power management ICs and software, charging electronics, and a multi-billion dollar investment in the ecosystem. Enevate is one among a handful of innovators that break these barriers.
Enevate was founded in 2008 by Benjamin Park, a leading innovator in battery technology, with a focus on building next-generation Li-ion batteries for high volume applications. With its patented HD-Energy® technology, Enevate takes innovation a step further, redefining the way we charge, store, and utilize Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. As an advanced silicon Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology company, Enevate is focused on delivering silicon-dominant Li-ion batteries that powers next-generation electric vehicles and consumer mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook PCs. The company stands as a pioneer in empowering today’s conventional Li-ion ecosystem with tomorrow’s ultrafast charging and higher battery capacity.
A New Frontier in Energy Store
It all began when Enevate's Founder and CTO, Park and his team developed a unique pure silicon film that composes of 100 percent active material and is free of inactive binder additives. The company employs innovative materials, industry standard production processes, and advanced battery architectures to deliver ultrafast charging, ultrahigh energy density, low-temperature performance, and plug-and-play compatibility. With over 35 patents pending or issued worldwide, Enevate’s pioneering work on silicon-dominant anodes has resulted in its breakthrough HD-Energy technology, delivering significant performance improvement over conventional graphite-dominant Li-ion batteries.
Our unique concept of using a pure silicon-dominant technology to improve the performance of EVBs and lower EVB costs places it ahead of competitors who use graphite-dominant approaches
"Enevate’s HD-Energy technology features ultrafast charging with high energy density, safety advantages, and excellent low-temperature operation," says Park. Batteries using Enevate’s technology can charge ultrafast in 15 minutes at up to 8X faster than conventional batteries, deliver an extended 35-50 percent longer device runtime, and operate down to a chilling -40°C. Enevate licenses this technology to strategic partners, who in turn, implement the leading edge batteries into various high volume applications such as electric vehicles and smartphones.
To maximize cycle life, Enevate Li-ion batteries deliver cycling to 3.3V cutoff for everyday use with up to 25 percent capacity. The company has developed a eBoost™ feature, which when activated, enables the battery to be further discharged to as low as 2.75V cutoff. This unique feature provides up to 25 percent additional energy, for a total battery capacity of up to 50 percent more over a conventional Li-ion battery of the same size. When the battery approaches the 3.3V cutoff and the fuel gauge is low, the user can activate eBoost. Once activated, the cell's reserve capacity continues to discharge the battery below 3.3V, to as low as 2.75V, instantly increasing the overall capacity. Furthermore, the Enevate HD-Energy® Technology Li-ion batteries offer excellent low-temperature performance at -20°C. In order to ensure the performance of the batteries running on HD-Energy technology, Enevate Li-ion energy cells undergo rigorous testing in third-party labs and certification houses to ensure their safety under normal operating conditions, and to meet the safety and quality certifications. Moreover, Enevate as a startup has been proactive in complying with safety certifications such as ISO 9001 and CTIA, meeting the demand of regular audits of the company’s facilities and processes.
Charging the Growing Demands of the EV Industry
Besides boosting ROI, range anxiety, time to charge, and overall upfront costs are often enough to deter consumers from purchasing EVs. Enevate’s consumer-friendly HD-Energy Technology for electric vehicles (EV) presents a seismic shift in electric vehicle battery (EVB) technology. With its high-energy density and extreme-fast charging, the battery offers increased driving range, very short charge times, cold-tolerant fast charging and operation, and extra safety due to overcharge resistance that results in a lack of lithium plating or dendrite growth. Specifically, Enevate’s technology allows EVs to add more than 240 miles of range with only a five-minute charge, essentially the same range conventional cars can get with a tank of gasoline. Regenerative braking, which requires high EVB charge rates, enables the car to store more kinetic energy, increasing the range even further, especially in cold climates.
With these advantages in place, consumers can use EVs much in the same way they use gasoline cars, have better performance and still have the option of waking up each morning to a fully charged battery. Among other benefits, extreme fast charging allows for a smaller, less expensive battery than typical EVBs since drivers could recharge with sufficient range in just a few minutes, significantly reducing the overall expense of purchasing an EV.
While batteries with Enevate's technology cycle somewhat less than conventional graphite cells, they can still charge and discharge upwards of 1,000 times while maintaining 85 percent of their capacity and this is sufficient for EVB use. While graphite EVBs only fast charge about 50 percent in 30 minutes, Enevate’s EVBs can charge up to 10 times faster, and the test results show it can reach 75 percent charge in about 5 minutes. Also, graphite EVBs when charged at high rates or cold temperatures experience significant degradation and safety concerns due to lithium plating on the graphite anode and reduced capacities while Enevate's EVBs do not appear to compromise cycle life, energy density, or safety when charged at the same high rates and cold temperatures even down to -20°C.
To remain cost competitive, Enevate avoids expensive manufacturing processes. While some competitors use expensive vacuum deposition, atomic layer deposition, silicon wafers, or synthesis to create their battery electrodes, Enevate realizes these processes are too expensive for the high volume automotive space and instead keeps its line running with low-cost raw materials that are within an established supply chain.
Innovating Energy Storage
Enevate’s technology has attracted of some of the leading Li-ion battery and EV companies around the globe. "Our unique concept of using a pure silicon-dominant technology to improve the performance of EVBs and lower EVB costs places it ahead of competitors who use graphite-dominant approaches," says Park. The company has numerous strategic investors including Tsing Capital, Mission Ventures, Infinite Potential Technologies, CEC Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Presidio Ventures (a Sumitomo Corporation company). In 2017 alone, Enevate has come to an agreement with multiple strategic partners that currently represent more than 30 percent of the global lithium-ion battery production market.
"Enevate’s HD-Energy technology features ultrafast charging with high energy density, excellent low-temperature operation, and safety advantages"
One way Enevate differentiates from its competitors is by allowing clients to visit their production facility. Located in Irvine, California, the company possesses a complete battery facility specially dedicated to engineering, testing, research and development, and pilot manufacturing. With a special area dedicated to chemical testing, a dry room facility with automated equipment to build cells, a full pilot production line, and over 2500 battery test channels run by its extensive Enevate Data Management System, Enevate’s facility is well positioned for low-volume production companies to fail-proof its technologies and eventually commercialize their products. Furthermore, the company’s proven battery chemistry holds the capability to be replicated in large scale. Currently, the output of the facility has reached up to 5000 cells per month, a cell production capacity unreachable to most startup competitors.