Tesla Battery Rival Signs Deal to Enter Asian Car Market

A Baltic energy storage maker that competes with Tesla Inc will enter the Asian market for electric and hydrogen vehicles through a deal with a Japanese conglomerate.

Skeleton Technologies Group OU signed a deal with Marubeni Corporation, which also made an equity investment in the Estonian company, to expand in the Asian market outside of China and India, it said in a statement.

The deal will focus on the so-called SuperBattery line of super capacitors, light-weight and long-life components that can distribute intensive bursts of power. The product could shore up electrical grid stability and aid electric cars. Skeleton already provides its products for double-decker bus companies, hydrogen trucks and passenger vehicles in Europe.

Skeleton’s super capacitors can be used in hybrid electric vehicles where “Japanese manufacturers are very strong,” Chief Executive Officer Taavi Madiberk said in an interview. They can also be used in fuel cells, he said.

Super capacitors, sometimes also called ultra capacitors, may be in the same position that lithium ion batteries were in 1999, with a strong price drop in the future, he said.

“We have a clear road map how to lower the cost of ultra capacitors by almost 95%,” Madiberk said. The cost could drop from about $5,000 per kilowatt hour to about $300 per kilowatt hour, he said.

Tesla, also searching for a breakthrough for electric car batteries, bought Skeleton’s competitor Maxwell Technologies Inc. in 2019.

Skeleton raised 41.3 million euros in Series D financing from existing and new investors, it said in November. Madiberk declined to disclose the size of Marubeni’s equity investment made in the super capacitor maker.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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