Battery hopeful and graphite miner Magnis Technologies wants to put its lithium technology in a “hypercar” named after an orchid.

Magnis (ASX:MNS) is one of the busiest companies on the ASX, with projects ranging from graphite mining in Tanzania to developing new battery technology to building factories around the world.

Now Magnis has signed a deal with a Singaporean venture to use its batteries in a new sports car dubbed the ‘Dendrobium’.

A dendrobium is otherwise known as a genus of orchid.

Magnis has invested in battery technology made by US outfit C4V (a cathode or positive terminal in a battery to be precise) to complement its Tanzania graphite project and proposed Queensland gigafactory.

The deal is with Dendrobium Automotive and Dendrobium Advanced Technologies — companies set up by Singaporean Vanda Electrics and led by former McLaren and Lamborghini marketing executive Nigel Gordon-Stewart.

The Dendrobium D-1 electric concept car, named for the orchid because its falcon-wing doors make it look like the flower, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March last year. The car maker claims it can deliver 1800 horsepower and 1475 pound-feet of torque.

This year the carmaker said it would start making a production version in the UK.


Under the agreement, Magnis and C4V have set up a working group to develop and produce a solid-state battery for the Dendrobium supercar — that is, a battery that doesn’t have a liquid electrolyte to transfer electric charge from positive to negative ions.

Solid-state batteries are supposed to provide more energy density that those with liquid electrolytes, but they do comes with pitfalls — slow charging, short life spans and it’s harder to get ions to conduct through a solid material than a liquid.

Low power devices such as computers use solid-state batteries, but for vehicles it’s the cutting edge of research still, rather than a viable alternative yet.

It’s an area that almost all carmakers are focused on, from BMW to Toyota, and an area that is frustrating almost all of them.

Last year Toyota said it was having problems making long-lived, high capacity batteries while NIssan said in April that solid-state batteries are years away.