Startup Focuses on Lithium Battery Power

Russ Mitchell reported this week at the Los Angeles Times Online that, “[B]uyers of high-tech batteries to power electric vehicles and store electricity for utilities, businesses and homes, [are all going on lithium].”

Mr. Mitchell explained that, “The fast-growing market for the new-style batteries, which run on a chemical mix based on lithium ion technology, could be worth $140 billion by 2026, according to research firm IDTechEx.

“[Michael Patterson’s] battery startup, Romeo Power, needs only a piece of it to score big in a fast-growing new industry, which was kickstarted by Tesla.”

The LA Times article noted that, “Hundreds of young companies around the world want in, but Romeo Power is local — based in Vernon, an industrial zone skirting the southeast border of Los Angeles.

“The company is taking off on a chancy adventure. Plenty of risks lie ahead: technical, financial and execution risks. But the rewards could be substantial, not only for Romeo Power but for the L.A. area, which is trying to establish itself as a major player in new-tech transportation.

The aim is to sell the company’s battery packs to motor vehicle makers as they scale up their electric-powered ambitions.”

This week’s article added that, “The idea, said Patterson, is to ‘level the playing field for everyone else who is not Tesla.’

“‘All these automakers want to compete with Tesla because they’re losing a lot of business to them,’ Patterson said.”

Battery packs are the company’s main product. They look like anonymous black boxes, usually long and thin enough to fit under the floor of a car. They contain enormous reservoirs of energy,” the article said.  “Tying all those volatile cells together to achieve maximum power while avoiding a disastrous explosion is tricky. The battery companies that do that best, and for the lowest cost, are the most likely to succeed.

Mr. Mitchell pointed out that, “Like most startups, Romeo Power is cloaked in trade secrets. Exactly how it plans to boost battery pack performance is unclear.”

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