Of course, A123 Systems was not the only lithium-ion battery company to arise just as plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles were coming onto the market.
A123 Systems, an advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturer, and Fisker Automotive, maker of a high-end extended-range electric vehicle, might only be the most famous because of their failures. On the other hand, Tesla Motors, who makes its own lithium-ion battery pack from Panasonic 18650 commodity cells, and Nissan, maker of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, have been working out quite well. Envia Systems might not be as well-known, but only because it has been quietly working in the background, which might be a good thing.
Perhaps making big promises that couldn’t be delivered upon, for lacking technology or market, has been exactly the downfall of companies like A123 Systems and Fisker Automotive. Envia Systems, another advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturer, out of Silicon Valley, this time, developed a 400Wh/kg lithium-ion battery a couple of years ago. General Motors invested $7 million in Envia Systems in 2011, which might explain their plans for a 200-mile electric vehicle in the same price range as the 37-mile range Chevy Volt, perhaps as soon as next year, but there’s a problem, because it seems that Envia Systems’ lithium-ion battery technology may not actually belong to Envia Systems.
It sounds good, Envia Systems aligning itself with manufacturing giant General Motors, but it seems some disgruntled former employees are looking to take their piece of the company. An ongoing February 2012 lawsuit alleges that Envia Systems stole nanotech startup NanoeXa Corporation’s lithium-ion battery cathode technology. A November, 2013, lawsuit alleges that former Envia CEO and a couple executives were wrongfully terminated from the company after the General Motors deal went south.
Envia Systems is confident that “the evidence will show that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit is nothing more than the spurious allegations of three disgruntled former employees.”
Image © Envia Systems