Adden Energy project could solve the EV charging dilemma

Harvard University start-up, Adden Energy receives seed funding of US$5mn thanks to break technology research, increasing the EV battery capacity

The two main drawbacks of electric vehicles (EVs) are charging and price. To remedy the charging concern and alleviate range anxiety among EV drivers requires an advanced level of expertise and a significant evolution of the infrastructure that is in use today. 

Firms are doing their best to provide products and services that push the industry ever closer towards shorter charging times, but the Harvard University startup, Adden Energy is making tracks to reduce the time to charge. 

The was founded by scientists at the university and even received an exclusive technology licence from Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) to set up the business and continue its research into charging and battery composition. Now, the company claims to have made a breakthrough that will change the way EV drivers think about electrification. 

Adden Energy created a prototype battery with high energy density and material stability, which “overcomes the safety problems of some other lithium batteries”—with the results published in Nature and other journals. 

Following seed funding of around US$5mn for a round led by Primavera Capital Group, Rhapsody Venture Partners and MassVentures, work will continue to optimise the density and charge capacity of its batteries. Scaling is key for the company as it looks to first increase its battery to a palm-sized pouch cell, before incorporating it into a much large battery for use in EVs. 

“If you want to electrify vehicles, a solid-state battery is the way to go, says Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). 

“We set out to commercialise this technology because we do see our technology as unique compared to other solid-state batteries. We have achieved 5,000 to 10,000 charge cycles in a battery’s lifetime, compared to 2,000 to 3,000 charging cycles for even the best-in-class now, and we don’t see any fundamental limit to scaling up our battery technology. That could be a game changer.”

It’s not all about EV batteries

Despite their sustainability credentials, EVs still have a long way to go, not only to provide the most suitable experience for drivers, but the industry must ensure that the chosen methods of the innovation are built for longevity. But with various different applications for EVs, there is no one-size-fits-all approach as companies are tasked with overcoming many challenges, be it sourcing of battery materials or research and innovation to gain the most out of those. 

While batteries are the hearts of EVs, electrified infrastructure has a critical role to play in enabling range and perhaps the focus is heavily weighted towards the products themselves when countries are not yet equipped to allow EVs to roam their roads.

Harvard University’s OTD has recognised the importance of such a project, which will contribute to its repertoire of over 100 startups launched over the past five years.

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