Swedish battery cells and systems company Northvolt has bought US battery technology company Cuberg and will establish an advanced technology centre in Silicon Valley.

Cuberg spun out of Stanford University in 2015 with the aim of commercialising next-generation battery technology based on a ground-breaking liquid electrolyte combined with a lithium metal anode, and has customers such as Boeing. The company is backed by the California Energy Commission, and the US Department of Energy.

“The Cuberg team has shown exceptional ability to develop world-class technology, proven results and an outstanding customer base in a lean and efficient organization,” Northvolt chief executive Peter Carlsson said.

“Combining these strengths with the capabilities and technology of Northvolt allows us to make significant improvements in both performance and safety while driving down cost even further for next-generation battery cells.

“This is critical for accelerating the shift to fully electric vehicles and responding to the needs of the leading automotive companies within a relevant time frame.”

Cuberg’s battery cells deliver more than 70% increased range and capacity versus comparable lithium-ion cells designed for high-rate electric aviation applications, an advantage Northvolt plans to use to mature its automotive and industrial product portfolio.

Lithium-ion cells are currently the standard in batteries for cell phones and electric vehicles.

Northvolt previously was only active in Europe, and is backed by carmakers such as VW, or BMW, as well as companies in the wind industry such as Vestas. The company aims to establish 150GWh of manufacturing capacity in Europe by 2030, and is well underway to build its first gigawatt battery cell factory in Sweden, dubbed Northvolt Ett.

Silicon Valley tech centre

Northvolt also said that Cuberg’s technology can be scaled up effectively, and is compatible with existing lithium-ion manufacturing, which minimises time to market and enables a rapid commercial deployment in the electric mobility market.

The technology centre in Silicon Valley Northvolt plans to set up is intended to speed up the lithium metal cell development, and also focus on materials research and the development of best-in-class lithium-ion anode and electrolyte technologies.

At the technology centre, Northvolt wants to partner with the leading technology companies and universities in Silicon Valley, with the aim to bridge ongoing research efforts between Europe and North America.

“Northvolt brings incredible technology and manufacturing capabilities that will accelerate the commercialization and adoption of our lithium metal technology,” Cuberg chief executive and co-founder Richard Wang said.