Cambridge professor raises £50m for 5-minute electric car charging

A Cambridge university professor has raised £50m for battery technology that could slash the time it takes to charge an electric car to less than five minutes.

Nyobolt, a Cambridge start-up developing electric vehicle batteries, raised the cash from Vietnamese materials supplier Masan High-Tech Materials. It values Nyobolt at £300m.

The start-up uses battery research developed by Cambridge University scientist Dame Prof Clare Philomena Grey. Nyobolt’s battery anodes use niobium, a grey, crystalline metal, and tungsten, which charge batteries more rapidly.

The company said its technology allowed batteries to be charged to 90pc capacity in less than five minutes, while improving power and durability tenfold. Nyobolt said its technology would “erase” range anxiety in electric vehicles.

Most modern electric cars only travel around 300 miles before needing to recharge, and many are limited to far shorter journeys. It raises the fear that many drivers may end up stuck by the side of the road waiting for their car to recharge.

Batteries that promise to slash charging times to provide more durable charge could prove key to curing range anxiety.

Nyobolt said its technology could be applied to home appliances and robotics too. Prof Grey said: “We are excited to move our technologies from development to deployment in the market.”

The new funding will go towards developing Nyobolt’s first materials manufacturing plant in the UK and expanding its existing US facility. The company plans to produce millions of battery units over the next year, largely aimed at home appliances but with plans to expand into electric vehicles. Nyobolt is also planning a battery recycling programme.

The funding round leaves Prof Grey, 57, who owned around 13pc of Nyobolt prior to its latest equity fundraising, sitting on a paper fortune worth millions of pounds. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours for her services to battery science. Other shareholders in Nyobolt include Cambridge’s IQ Capital and the University of Cambridge.

The Government has pumped £330m into battery technologies as it pursues a “net zero” target of 2050. From 2030, the UK will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in a shift towards electric vehicles.

Another UK company, Britishvolt, which is planning to develop a battery “gigafactory” in the North East, secured £1.7bn earlier in January. In March, it raised a further £40m from the miner Glencore.


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