Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, yesterday announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies.
Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.
The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.
“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.”
Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale next-generation all solid-state batteries that are designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.
Solid Power’s leadership in all solid-state battery development and manufacturing has been confirmed with the delivery of hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year, formalizing Solid Power’s commercialization plans with its two long-standing automotive partners.
“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”
“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years, BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence– important partners like Solid Power share our vision of zero-emission mobility.”
Solid Power is currently producing 20-ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilizes industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.
Both Ford and the BMW Group will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs expected to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.
“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability. After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations.
“The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment. The company’s partnership with BMW and Ford will further accelerate the full commercialization of Solid Power’s batteries and position both car companies to be among the first to have EVs on the road powered by safer, affordable, high-energy solid-state batteries.” He added.
MTN Nigeria Joins FG Delegation at the 2021 Edition of UNIIS to Woo investors!
MTN Nigeria is participating at this year’s edition of the US-Nigerian Investment Summit scheduled to hold on the 17th and 18th of September, 2021 in New York City. The participation is in furtherance of the company’s commitment to partner with the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, to attract investors and investment to Nigeria.
Themed “Nigeria: The Future of Global Business”, the event builds on the success of the 2018 maiden edition. The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Olutokun Toriola as well as Chief Financial officer, MTN Nigeria, Modupe Kadiri will be in attendance at the summit. Toriola will be speaking at the summit, highlighting opportunities in Nigeria with MTN Nigeria’s success story as a reference.
“We are passionate about the development of our economy. This can be seen in our unrelenting efforts in working with Government and institutions in different sectors to advance economic growth in our nation. We believe in the many opportunities Nigeria avails investors, and our 20 year journey is a testament to the promise the country holds,” said Toriola.
The US-Nigeria Investment Summit plays a vital role in attracting and facilitating business investment and job creation by raising awareness about a range of opportunities, and enabling vital direct connections between investors and the Nigeria economy. The investment summit features senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other thought leaders.
MTN Nigeria continues to advance its Good Together philosophy through strategic interventions, working with the people and government of Nigeria. Recently, the company announced a series of activities as part of its milestone anniversary celebration including participating in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Programme (RITC) for an opportunity to reconstruct the Enugu – Onitsha expressway in South-Eastern Nigeria, building a world-class campus in Nigeria and selling down up to 14% of its equity to Nigerians.
SEC In plans To Embrace Crypto Investment, Set Up Fintech Unit For Regulations
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set up a fintech division to study crypto investments and products in order to come up with regulations, the Director-General of the commission, Lamido Yuguda said on Thursday.
“We are looking at this market closely to see how we can bring out regulations that will help investors protect their investment in blockchain,” Yuguda was reported to have said by Reuters in a virtual interview in Abuja.
He did not provide a time frame for issuing regulations but said the SEC will step in with regulations once crypto is allowed within the Nigerian banking system.
The SEC has sought to regulate crypto on the grounds that they qualify as securities transactions.
Nigeria is one of the biggest markets for crypto trading, but in February the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned banks from transacting or facilitating deals in cryptocurrencies.
The use of bitcoin, the original and biggest cryptocurrency, has boomed in Nigeria in recent years, driven by payments from small businesses and a weakening naira currency, which makes it difficult to get the U.S. dollars needed to import goods or services.
Yuguda said the commission has been in talks with the CBN, part of which led to the plan by the regulatory bank to launch the country’s digital currency, e-naira.
The commission is seeking to work with fintech firms to boost the marketing of domestic securities to prevent capital flight.
The central bank this month blocked the accounts of six firms for allegedly sourcing funds from illegal foreign exchange operators to buy foreign securities and cryptocurrencies.
He said the SEC is looking to boost savings through investment schemes, which currently have over N4 trillion under management split between public and private fund managers.
Yuguda said the regulator has asked private managers to put in place custody arrangements to protect investors.
In 4 Years 92 Percent Of Investment Opportunities Lost in Nigeria
Within the period of 2017 and 2020, Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has lost over 92 percent of investment available to the country. The loss in investment sums up about $188.29 billion.
According to the report of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on “Investment announcements versus FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Inflow in Nigeria, 2017 – 2020” the discrepancies between the FDI announcement and actual FDI inflow were revealed. The commission stated that the actual inflow of FDI into Nigeria was 7.65 percent of the total FDI announcements.
This is an affirmation that the FDI announced by the commission did not materialize or translate to actual investment inflow.
In the period 2017 to 2020, the NIPC FDI announcement stood at $203,89 billion, however, the actual FDI within the same period was $15.6 billion and unmaterialized FDI announced was $188.29 billion.
In 2017, statistics obtained from NIPC revealed a total of $66.35 billion FDI announcement but only $3.5 FDI inflow was recorded. For 2018, 2019 and 2020, $90.89 billion, $29.91 billion and $16.74 billion FDI were announced in each year respectively. However 2018 FDI inflow was $6.4 billion, 2019 inflow was $3.3 billion and 2020 FDI inflow was $2.4 billion.
With this report, the commission asserted that its report was based solely on Investment announcements which may not contain exhaustive information on all investment announcements in the country within the said period.
According to NIPC, the gaps between announcements and actual investments demonstrate investments potentials that were not fully actualised.
The Commission stated: “A more proactive all-of-government approach to investor support, across federal and state governments, is required to convert more announcements to actual investments.”
Reacting to the situation, Director General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, noted that the gap may not be unconnected to the economic recession and COVID-19 pandemic events within the period, aggravated by policy instability.
Olukanni stated: “Numerous studies have established that Foreign Direct Investment is dependent on the market size of the host country, deregulation, level of political stability, investment incentives, openness to international trade, economic policy coherence, exchange rate depreciation, availability of skilled labour, the endowment of natural resources and inflation.
“You will agree with me that the four years spanning 2017 and 2020 are characterized by the struggle to exit from economic recession, a period of slight recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic, and another period of recession. These circumstances may or may not be responsible for the political and economic reaction that can be witnessed in the uncertainty in the foreign exchange market, increased inflation, increased unemployment, increased political unrest and insecurity and so on.
“What can be established is that Foreign Direct Investment is averse to risk and uncertainty, especially the kind of uncertainty brought about by policy instability and economic policy. An obvious example is the closure of the land borders in 2019, while justifiable through the lens of national security is certain to have a negative impact on Foreign Direct Investment which has a long-term planning horizon.
“In summary, to seek to increase actual FDI is to promote the factors that have been shown, empirically, to positively impact FDI. While the Nigerian economy checks the boxes of most of these factors, economic policy coherence, foreign exchange market stability and insecurity are issues that are currently the bane of FDI inflows.”
Also commenting, an economist and private sector advocate, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who is also the immediate past Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce of Industry (LCCI), said the development reflects the low level of investors’ confidence occasioned by structural problems of infrastructure and worsening security situation.
His words: “It is investors’ confidence that drives investment, whether domestic or foreign. Investors are generally very cautious and painstaking in taking decisions with respect to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is because FDIs are often long-term and invariably riskier, especially in volatile economic and business environments. Uncertainties aggravate investment risk.
“Investors in the real sector space are grappling with structural problems, especially around infrastructure. There are also worries around liquidity in the forex market; there are concerns about the accelerated weakening of the currency. There are issues of heightened regulatory and policy risks in many sectors.
“Investors’ confidence has also been adversely affected by the worsening security situation in the country. Meanwhile, the economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the likely factors impacting investment decisions.
“Our ability to attract FDI will depend on how well we position ourselves. The critical question will be around expected returns on investment. Overall, it is the investment climate quality that will make the difference. We need to ensure an acceleration of necessary reforms to make Nigeria a much better investment destination. We need policy reforms, regulatory reforms and institutional reforms, among others.
“We should accelerate the ongoing foreign exchange reforms; we need to undertake trade policy reforms to liberalise trade in sectors of weak comparative advantage; we need regulatory reforms to make regulations more investment-friendly. We need to create new opportunities in the public-private partnership (PPP) space, especially in infrastructure. We need to see more privatization of public enterprises.
“It is important as well to quickly fix the ravaging insecurity in the country. All of these are crucial to boost investors’ confidence.”
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