Fisker, emerging battery supplier Nanotech end JV

Henrik Fisker in June tweeted this photo of the EMotion.

A joint venture between Henrik Fisker's new car company and an emerging battery supplier was unplugged before it could ever charge up.

Fisker Inc. and Nanotech Energy Inc. will not go forward with the JV called Fisker Nanotech to produce battery cells that use graphene for the forthcoming all-electric EMotion sedan, according to officials.

"In order to meet the timetable for Henrik Fisker, we would have had to just focus on that and that alone," Jack Kavanaugh, chairman and acting CEO of Nanotech Energy, who had been named to lead the joint venture, told Automotive News. "It wasn't right for us as a company to just focus on one thing."

The joint venture was announced in conjunction with Fisker announcing his new car company in October.

Fisker and Nanotech, a product of UCLA, remain in "friendly" discussions and could do more business together in the future, according to Kavanaugh. The car company, Fisker said, continues to "work with Nanotech on the applications of graphene," but it will use battery cells provided by LG Chem for the EMotion.

Kavanaugh said Nanotech is speaking with several companies -- both inside and outside automotive -- about bringing its battery technology to market, following independent testing beginning at the end of the summer.

"We're focusing on auto, computer, cell phone, solar, aerospace and other things having to do Internet, medical and power tool," he said. "They all have slightly different requirements."

Kavanaugh said using graphene, an extremely strong basic structural element, helps charge and discharge cells faster, while improving safety and range in a vehicle. It can be used for cells with or without lithium ion.

EMotion

The EMotion will now use advanced cylindrical lithium-ion NCM chemistry cells from South Korea-based LG Chem for a pack designed by Fisker Inc., according to Fisker.

"This cell from LG Chem, it's their latest new cell and we have done our own testing of that cell and verified that it will give us the power we need and the capability of fast charging," Fisker said.

The $129,000 EMotion is expected to debut around late-September, followed by production and deliveries beginning in late-2019. Fisker declined to comment if the vehicle will debut at the Frankfurt auto show, which begins Sept. 14.

The sedan is touted as having a top speed of 161 mph, a more than 400-mile electric range and rapid-charging capabilities of 125 miles in 9 minutes. The change in battery cell provider, according to Fisker, will not impact those performance metrics.

Solid state

The company, according to Fisker, is internally concentrating on emerging, "game-changing" battery technology known as flexible solid state.

For years, companies have been working on solid state battery technology, which replaces the liquid electrolyte used in lithium ion batteries with a solid one. It makes the battery more compact and more stable, allowing a higher voltage to be packed into a smaller package.

"We are enhancing and expediting our efforts in solid-state technology and will be announcing our recent developments and partnerships on the near future," Fisker said in a follow-up email after a recent phone interview.

Fisker said that technology remains five to seven years away, if not more. It is expected to be eventually integrated into a planned mass-market vehicle, which Fisker expects to bring to market "ahead of 2025."

Fisker is taking refundable $2,000 deposits for the EMotion. He declined to say how many reservations have been received, but said the order book is filled for 2019 deliveries. Anyone who places a new reservation is expected to get their car in 2020.

You can reach Michael Wayland at mwayland@crain.com -- Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeWayland

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