Swiss watchmaker Swatch expects to get the green light for its newly-developed car batteries to be used in electric vehicles made by Chinese automaker and joint-venture partner Geely next year, according to a report.
Swatch confirmed earlier this year its Belenos Clean Power subsidiary had begun testing its prototype vanadium pentoxide cathode battery technology under an agreement with Geely.
Now Switzerland’s NZZ am Sonntag has quoted Swatch CEO Nick Hayek as saying the batteries will go into production next year for actual ‘road testing’ in Geely’s EVs— with Chinese authorities expected to approve certification of the batteries “by the middle of 2018”.
According to the paper, Hayek said testing of the battery technology in EVs “to obtain concrete experiences” had been delayed by several months, “because we have been working hard to improve and optimise the cathode for our battery”.
A Swatch spokesperson told BBB the group would not comment on the report and declined to say whether production of the batteries would be in Switzerland or China. “We are not giving any official statements or interviews,” the spokesperson said.
Belenos has said previously it has been developing the car batteries project for around six years with Swiss research and development peer ETH Zurich. The “innovative battery aims to be at least 30% more powerful than conventional counterparts”, Belenos said. The company said the batteries could eventually also be used in drones, e-bikes and e-scooters.
Last month, Swatch invited local media to cover a visit to Belenos’ facility in Itingen by film star George Clooney, who is a member of the Belenos board. Hayek reportedly told local media Clooney was “not just a board member… he motivates our workers through his presence and gives a lot of creative input”.