California energy storage start-up Romeo Power— which boasts a workforce including “top engineers and designers” from business rivals Tesla— has secured $30 million in seed financing.
Romeo said on 24 August it was now pushing ahead with the installation of a fully-automated 113,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Los Angeles that is set to be ready by the year’s end.
The company, whose team includes former employees of SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Samsung, said it has already secured $65m worth of initial orders for its products since it started selling this year. All are scheduled for delivery in 2018.
Current contracts and design agreements “span US and European automakers, manufacturers of motorcycles and forklifts, industrial players and more”, the company said.
Romeo said it is now ramping up production of its modular battery packs, comprised of cylindrical lithium-ion cells, which it said can be used in cars, power sport vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and forklifts.
Romeo co-founder and chief technology officer Porter Harris (pictured), who developed the battery technology powering SpaceX’s F9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, said: “We’ve applied technologies developed for applications in space and aerospace, and we’ve improved upon them to create products that break new ground for EVs and stationary energy storage.”
Harris said the firm’s technology platform offered:
· The highest energy density by 25%, “providing dramatically-increased range”;
· Highest thermal performance, “optimised for the fastest charge times, decreasing standard battery charge times by 15% to 30%;
· Superior safety, with all designs “built with inherent thermal runaway mitigation and featuring multiple fault-tolerant software and hardware to protect against cross-cell propagation”.
Romeo’s founder and CEO, entrepreneur Michael Patterson, said: “We’ve seen incredible momentum in a short period, and we’re scaling manufacturing as fast as we can to meet demand. There’s a massive market opportunity for energy storage technologies.”
Earlier this year, former supply chain head for Tesla, Peter Carlsson, announced plans to raise around EUR4 billion ($4.2bn) to beat his former company in setting up Europe’s first Gigafactory in Sweden.