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SES gathers $139 million in funding round led by GM

SES recently announced that it has completed a Series D funding round of $139 million led by General Motors (GM). The company is known for its development and manufacturing of next-generation Lithium-Metal rechargeable batteries, particularly for electric vehicles.

SES was founded in 2012 and was formerly known as SolidEnergy Systems before fully embracing its acronym. It is headquartered in Singapore but operates out of Boston, Shanghai, and Seoul. The company is currently focused on Lithium-Metal batteries, which are produced using existing Lithium-ion infrastructure. In addition to the cells themselves, SES also designs and produces the modules, recycling processes, and AI algorithms that optimize battery safety and charging.

Last month, GM announced a joint venture with SES to develop its next-generation Ultium batteries. GM had originally invested in SES and its Li-Metal technology in 2015 and now plans to work more closely together with the battery specialists.

The joint venture will result in a manufacturing prototyping line to be erected in Woburn, Massachusetts. Both sides are aiming for it to lead to “a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.” SES’ recent funding announcement should help it and GM reach its production goals.

A History of battery cells from the SES website

SES’ latest funding round led by GM

A press release from SES revealed the manufacturer has received an additional $139 million in Series D funding from current investors. In addition to GM, other SES investors include SK Inc. and Shanghai Auto. Qichao Hu, founder and CEO of SES, states:

This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand
our technical, business and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialization of Li-Metal batteries.

SES claims that it offers the most complete solution in the EV battery market by combining
strong technology and an innovative mix of materials. The company believes its Li-Metal cells can deliver both the fast charge and longer range at a lower price that is sought by virtually all automakers today.

With its investment and joint venture with SES, GM is certainly one of those OEMs. Matt Tsien, GM EVP and CTO and GM Ventures president, elaborates:

GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our
work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for
customers who want more range at a lower cost. This investment by GM and others
will allow SES to accelerate their work and scale up their business.

SES and GM’s joint venture has already led to 49 patents granted and 45 patents pending as of last month. The American automaker has new battery technology being implemented on upcoming vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV, and it clearly has big plans for the next generation of Ultium Li-Metal cells with the help of SES.

From SES’ perspective, being able to drop Li-Metal cells into existing Li-ion battery infrastructure gives SES confidence its cell production can be more quickly optimized and scaled at a lower cost. Funding from companies like GM will help accelerate this process.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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