StoreDot – Charging Ahead
StoreDot is taking Nobel prize-winning technology to the next level, revolutionising the electric vehicle sector.
Electric cars are the future, they have to be. But if you have ever let your phone run out of battery and had to wait a couple of hours for it to recharge, you might worry about facing the same scenario with an electric vehicle.
“Our goal is to have a visible road map to addressing the range anxiety problem,” says Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO and co-founder of StoreDot. “Range is the number one problem of adopting electric vehicles.”
StoreDot’s vision is that cars can be charged in minutes as opposed to hours so that the experience of a driver charging an electric vehicle will be exactly like the conventional refuelling experience- five minutes in and out from the charging station.
“This will enable the adoption of electric vehicles to accelerate dramatically,” says Myersdorf. “We are leveraging the great innovation of the 2019 Nobel Prize winner of Professor John B. Goodenough, one of a team of three who won the Nobel prize for the lithium-ion battery. What they were working on is the technology that would enable them to charge the lithium-ions in a slow but secure way, using graphite on the negative side of the battery.”
StoreDot’s breakthrough is to replace that graphite with silicon. Not only silicon but silicon combined with proprietary organic compounds.
“We synthesise small molecules the same way you would in pharmaceuticals,” Myersdorf says. “These support the battery it’s protecting, replacing the key element that prevents lithium from charging faster.”
A Cocktail of Expertise
The secret to StoreDot’s approach is that it combines expertise from a huge variety of different, cutting edge, disciplines.
“We have artificial intelligence and data science to let us look at the vast number of formulations that could work in the battery, to pinpoint the configurations that work best,” Myersdorf tells us. “As well as being safe and having sufficient, best-in-class energy storage at 300 watt-hours per kilogram, we’re the only ones able to recharge the battery in five minutes.”
StoreDot is working at the edge of what is possible in physics and chemistry and materials. It is at the forefront of what is known to date, and materials are one of the toughest sectors to drive innovation in.
“We understood that to make a difference and create something unique we had to reinvent the materials,” Myersdorf recalls. “The challenge is that materials have a very non-linear process of development. Sometimes you hit a wall and have to go back and replicate what we have done again with some other formulation. So, the challenge is to manage this non-linear process on a very complex project is something no other company has faced before.”
This meant assembling a crack team with a unique mix of perspectives and knowledge. From the outset, StoreDot hired 30 PhDs and another hundred professionals.
“Our researchers come from different disciplines and different faculties, including quantum physics, materials, science, and chemistry,” Myersdorf explains. “They are each bringing different perspectives on how materials will work in the battery. Each has a different understanding and even terminology. We created cross-functional teams, using agile principles that are typically used in the software sector, but we’re the only ones using them in chemistry.”
Every month each of these experts presents their progress in pushing the performance envelope as part of a constant and ongoing process of benchmarking and measurement. It has led to StoreDot having an unrivalled ability to innovate in the sector.
“Our unique selling point is our ability to innovate and the core mechanism of the lithium-ion technology, combining the different realms of nanotechnology, organic materials and AI in order to break the boundaries of what is possible in the world of batteries,” Myersdorf says. “This combination is unique and is what enabled us to register over a hundred patents that cover all the molecules, compounds, systems and processes that enable extreme fast charging.”
The people are the vital ingredient in generating that innovation, and assembling a team capable of that is the real trick.
“We focus on the people. Our first values include ‘people first’. We prioritise people before business, before financials,” Myersdorf insists. “We’re selective about the expertise and quality of researchers and the rest of the team.”
From the beginning, StoreDot has been close to the talent, with the business starting out of a university and its co-founders being professors and a PhD.
“We are doing real pioneering research. There was no real battery company doing research in electric chemistry, so we were operating initially in a vacuum,” Myersdorf says. “Recruiting the first 20 PhDs was easy. We focused on selecting people who had published papers in Nature, been to Vostok or MIT. We wanted experienced people with specific knowledge around batteries, but the knowledge that had not yet found a commercial application.”
The Road Ahead
Indeed, while StoreDot has some impressive innovations under its belt already, Myersdorf is already enthusiastic about what is to come.
“We’re moving down the road to solid-state batteries. That would mean a battery where the electrolyte is solid,” he says. “This is a 2028 product we’re working on, so the path forward is to continue delivery with our joint ventures, one in China, one in Vietnam, one in the US. These manufacturing joint ventures let us scale up in the market for the technology while working hand-in-hand with car OEMs.”
StoreDot is positioned to be a leading solution provider for batteries in electric vehicles because it takes performance to a different level. This has a knock-on effect, positioning Israel as a leader in the battery sector, and Israel is already considered a major hub for auto tech.
Myersdorf explains, “StoreDot compliments the capability for auto driving with its battery. We’re working with our R & D centre in California, very quickly becoming a global company with operations in China, the UK, Germany, and Vietnam among others.”