SES, a Singapore-based manufacturer of Lithium-Metal rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles, announced on Monday that it has raised $139 million in a Series D round funding led by General Motors (GM).
The round saw participation from returning backers including Singapore state investor Temasek, US-based Applied Materials, Korea’s SK Inc., Applied Ventures LLC, Vertex Ventures, Shanghai Auto (SAIC Group), and Shenzhen-listed energy materials major Tianqi Lithium, per a company statement.
“This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand our technical, business, and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialisation of Li-Metal batteries,” said SES founder and CEO Qichao Hu in the statement.
SES’s latest funding follows its recent joint development agreement with GM to build a manufacturing prototyping line in Massachusetts for a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.
With subsidiaries in Boston, Shanghai, and Seoul, SES produces Li-Metal batteries for EVs and electric vertical take-off, and landing vehicles (eVTOLs). The company was founded by Dr. Qichao Hu in 2012.
SES is making efforts to scale up its affordable productions to meet the needs of the rapidly growing global EV market.
“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,” said GM executive vice president and chief technology officer and president Matt Tsien.
According to consultancy McKinsey & Co, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for new-generation vehicles, such as battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and partial-hybrid EVs, besides contactless delivery options powered by autonomous driving.
Over 40% of the participants, in its consumer survey of about 7,000 respondents worldwide, said they are willing to pay a premium for green vehicles. Annual global passenger plug-in EV sales hit three million in 2020 – an over 40% increase year-on-year – with 46% of the fiscal-year sales coming from Europe, 39% from China, and 12% from North America.