Our Next Energy secures $25 million funding

By Dominic Ellis
We take a closer look at Our Next Energy's Aries and Gemini batteries - with the former set to go into production at the end of 2022

Our Next Energy Inc (ONE), a Michigan-based energy storage solutions company, recently closed a $25 million Series A capital raise led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The round was also joined by Assembly VenturesBMW i VenturesFlex and Volta Energy Technologies.

Its Aries battery pack uses a 'unique Structural Cell to Pack architecture' to allow increased range and reduced cost while eliminating nickel- and-cobalt based chemistries.

Founded in 2020 by Mujeeb Ijaz, a battery systems engineer with more than 30 years of experience, ONE and its team of experienced battery engineers are focused on safer battery chemistries that use the most sustainable raw materials while creating a reliable, low cost and conflict-free supply chain.

The firm has demonstrated technologies that can double the range of electric vehicles, a key to increasing adoption. In addition to improving range, it is focused on lowering cost with cobalt-free chemistries that don't pose a thermal runaway risk.

"Mujeeb and his team at ONE have cracked the code for building long-range batteries that not only push energy density levels but also cost barriers," said Carmichael Roberts, a Member of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. "This is the type of battery innovation we need to eliminate consumer range anxiety for mass adoption and also make electrification more attractive for trucks and fleets."

The first of these technologies, Aries, will go into production at the end of 2022 with an energy density of 287 Wh/L, at a system level. The Aries battery pack will use Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry in a Structural Cell to Pack architecture having the highest known cell to pack ratio of 76%. In simple terms, this has allowed the company's first production customer to increase range and reduce cost while eliminating nickel- and-cobalt supply chain and safety concerns.

The second of these technologies, Gemini, uses proprietary energy management system and chemistry in a dual battery range extender architecture. This approach yields 450 Wh/L at a system level, further improving range and cost beyond the Aries platform. To quantify the capabilities of the Gemini architecture, ONE calculates that this battery system will allow electric vehicles to travel more than 750 miles on a single charge.

"Leveraging our Series A investment, ONE will accelerate product development of both Aries and Gemini batteries," said Ijaz. "We are thrilled to include the experience and leadership of these strategic investors as we execute our vision to create energy storage systems with safer and more sustainable battery chemistries."

"ONE is an 'only-in-Michigan' story that exemplifies the opportunity Western industrial centers have to create the technology that will drive the future of mobility," said Chris Thomas, Co-founder and Partner at Assembly Ventures. "Their focus on upending the chemistry of electrified propulsion, while also creating an ethical and secure supply chain, is both distinct and long overdue."

Baris Guzel, Partner at BMW i Ventures, said ONE is working to fundamentally reinvent the battery while focusing on sustainability, safety and cost; three key factors which will help speed the development and adoption of battery electric vehicles. "We are convinced that Our Next Energy has the potential to truly transform the space, and we could not be more excited to join their journey."

"Flex is focused on collaborating across the automotive industry to accelerate the future of mobility," added Mike Thoeny, President, Flex Automotive Business Group. "In the movement from internal combustion engines (ICE) to dedicated EV platforms, advanced battery solutions will play a pivotal role and ONE has the opportunity to provide a transformative and disruptive technology."

What makes ONE a particularly attractive investment to Volta is that the company is led by experienced and mature leaders who are innovating at both the cell and the pack level, said Volta Founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Chamberlain.

"This combination of technology improvements in engineering design, manufacturing technology, along with chemistry and architecture makes ONE unique, and a technology leader in this regard. In ONE, we see a unique ability to integrate next-generation ideas into to the fast-developing landscape of battery technologies and use cases."


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