Earlier this week, stealthy Swiss startup Alevo announced it’s investing $1 billion in a North Carolina factory that will eventually produce gigawatts’ worth of a new kind of lithium-ion battery, one it claims can last much longer than current chemistries, and with no risk of overheating.
It’s a big claim from a company that’s shared almost nothing about its financing and technology until now. Technology breakthroughs in the advanced battery field are often announced with great fanfare. But often, the companies making these claims disappear without a trace — or burn out after spending hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment or taxpayer funding.
Alevo hasn’t tapped any government grants or tax breaks so far, relying on private investments, equity funds and agreements with materials suppliers to reach its $1 billion target, CEO Jostein Eikeland said in an interview last week.
At the same time, the company that Alevo bought earlier this year — and which appears to be the source of the startup’s mysterious, sulfur-based inorganic lithium-ion electrolyte chemistry — had sought $112 million in state tax breaks to build a factory in Michigan, before it went under.