SES has secured a series D funding of $139 million which has been led by General Motors (GM). SES, of course, is known for its development and manufacturing of next-generation lithium-metal rechargeable batteries focusing on electric vehicles. This is not the first start-up GM has supported which has been developing next-generation battery technology. SES has been around for a while since 2012 and was known earlier as SolidEnergy System, is based in Singapore but has facilities in Boston, Shanghai and Seoul. It has been focussed on Lithium-Metal batteries which are based on the existing Lithium-Ion base. SES designs the cells and modules, recycling processes and AI algorithms that optimise battery safety and charging.
"This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand our technical, business and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialisation of Li-Metal batteries," said Qichao Hu, the founder and CEO of SES.
This comes after GM announced a JV with SES to develop its next-generation Ultium batteries which will be in the Hummer EV. GM had invested earlier in SES and its Lithium-Metal technology in 2015 and now there are plans to work even more closely.
"GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for customers who want more range at a lower cost. This investment by GM and others will allow SES to accelerate their work and scale up their business," said Matt Tsien, GM's EVP, CTO and president of GM Ventures.
This JV will enable SES in activating a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn. They are planning a high-capacity pre-production battery by 2023. SES now claims that it provides the most complete EV battery solution with its lithium-metal approach which can deliver longer range and fast charging speeds at a much lower cost.
SES and GM already have 49 patents in their hands and 45 are pending as of last month. The next generation of the Ultium batteries will be based on the Lithium-Metal tech that SES has been developing.
There are many unique approaches to next-generation battery technology and this is yet another one. QuantumScape is another start-up that has been focusing on solid-state batteries and has a huge investment from the Volkswagen Group and Bill Gates. They are also working on developing batteries with similar goals as SES.