Chinese electric car maker seeks out Hipo’s battery subsidiary
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A Ukrainian battery company that junior explorer Hipo Resources has a 25 per cent stake in has aligned itself with a big Chinese electric car maker.
Next-Battery has formed a “strategic relationship” with Shanghai-headquartered Lvchi Auto group.
Hipo (ASX:HIP) says Lvchi Auto has targeted annual production of over 500,000 electric vehicles.
But the news failed to inspire investors, with shares sliding over 11 per cent to an intra-day low of 1.6c. Shares recovered slightly to 1.7c by midday, with 4.2 million shares changing hands.
Hipo chairman Maurice Feilich says the Chinese group sought out Next-Battery, and other parties active in the electric vehicle and electronics markets had also expressed interest.
“It’s other battery start-ups in the UK and US, and some of the bigger boys have also started to show some interest with further meetings happening in the new year,” he told Stockhead.
Hipo paid $500,000 for 25 per cent of Next-Battery with an option to buy another 10 per cent later on for $1 million.
Next-Battery’s technology is designed to effectively “upgrade” a battery electrode’s functional properties.
It’s working on a prototype, due for completion from February next year.
The technology is a conductive film on which metals such a lithium and cobalt can be built up in a lattice structure in nano-layers.
That film is placed on the cathode (the positive electrode) and increases the surface area.
Batteries are made up of an anode (positive) electrode and a cathode (negative) electrode and the electrical current flows between the two.
That increase the volume of electrons that can move to the cathode, which increases the energy density of the battery, and therefore make batteries last longer and more powerful.
They claim it can double the energy density of a lithium ion battery.
Next-Battery is also working on a solid state battery.
Solid state technology is harder to engineer — but promises a lower-cost battery that is higher capacity, higher density, higher performance and quicker to charge.
Both Next-Battery and Lvchi are planning to undertake visits in Ukraine and China during the first quarter of next year.
The goal is to cement a commercial collaboration venture in China designed to fast track the commercial roll-out and development of Next-Battery.
Mr Feilich said he hopes the advancements by Next-Battery would lead to another bigger group taking a decent stake in Next-Battery.
“I’m pretty comfortable with 25 to 35 per cent of the company,” he told Stockhead.
“I’d like to see some other bigger group come along and give them a roost as well. So they might put some serious money in behind them and take a decent chunk of the company. I’d rather see something like that.”