Our Next Energy (ONE), a Michigan-based EV battery startup that develops advanced battery storage solutions to expand access to sustainable power, has emerged from stealth mode with $25 million in Series A funding from high-profile investors ranging from German automaker BMW to a clean technology venture firm headed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the young company said on Monday.
Founded just a year ago, ONE said the company has demonstrated technologies that can double the range of electric vehicles. In addition to improving range, ONE said the company is also focused on lowering the cost with cobalt-free chemistries that don’t pose a thermal runaway risk.
The latest round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the investment arm of Breakthrough Energy, founded by Gates in 2015 to support and fund innovations to counter climate change. Other backers include Assembly Ventures, BMW i Ventures, Detroit-based Assembly Ventures, and Chicago-based Volta Energy Technologies, which is partnered with Argonne National Laboratories. Another investor is Singapore-based electronics manufacturer Flex Ltd.
ONE was founded in 2020 by Mujeeb Ijaz, a battery systems engineer with more than 30 years experience at Ford Motor Co., Apple, and A123 Systems, said of the financial backers, “We wanted to surround ourselves with people who are in this for the long term. They can help our company grow, and they are also magnets for other technology.”
After exiting from stealth mode, ONE is now working on a dual battery that combines a structural cell-to-pack design that uses cobalt- and nickel-free cathodes, with a second, high-energy pack that can recharge the first, potentially doubling vehicle range to 750 miles.
“Mujeeb and his team at ONE have cracked the code for building long-range batteries that not only push energy density levels but also cost barriers,” said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “This is the type of battery innovation we need to eliminate consumer range anxiety for mass adoption and also make electrification more attractive for trucks and fleets.”
ONE will use the new cash infusion to fund research and development, ranging from battery software and power electronics to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We plan to go from raw materials all the way to (battery) cell manufacturing,” he said, adding that ONE may seek additional funding and partners next year to help the company scale-up manufacturing.