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Time is ticking on Swiss watchmaker’s vanadium battery

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:20 -- Paul Crompton

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has confirmed it is in the process of testing a prototype battery, which will eventually be verified for use in vehicle applications.

However, the Swiss firm is still a number of years from certification of its vanadium pentoxide cathode battery.

Information on the technology is scarce, but BBB has learnt that Belenos, a Swatch Group research company, is using vanadium for the battery’s cathode and using a ‘new’ electrolyte.

Belenos has been working on the battery alongside the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

The prototypes are being produced at Swatch’s Renata battery unit near Basel, Switzerland.

"We're in the process of putting a prototype into operation in Itingen, Basel, where we'll test the first batteries with our Chinese partner Geely for the mobility of their cars," said Nick Hayek, Swatch Group CEO, reported news agency Reuters.

"But it will take another two to three years until we receive the necessary certification."

Belenos is set to provide the technology and powder for the battery’s cathode, which will ultimately be manufactured in China.

To this end Belenos and the Chinese car and motorcycle manufacturer Geely signed a memorandum of understanding for use of the technology last year.

The battery, developed in Switzerland, is already protected by 20 patents.

The research firm was established by Hayek’s late father in 2008 as Belenos Clean Power Holding. Swatch holds a 51% stake in the firm.