Tesla’s Chinese challenger Enovate Motors closes Series A round at USD 134 million

Enovate’s ME7 model has a longer range than Tesla’s Model 3, a hint that it may be using all-solid-state battery technology.

Chinese startup Enovate Motors announced Monday that it has closed its Series A round at more than RMB 2 billion (USD 134 million), one day before it is to pre-sell its first electric vehicle at the Shanghai auto show.

The investors include large public companies and government funds, said the automaker.

Enovate is scheduled to launch its ME7 model on Tuesday, which might feature an all-solid-state battery. The firm has said the vehicle is able to run 700 kilometers without charging, longer than the 600-kilometer maximum range of Tesla’s Model 3 which does not yet use the all-solid-state battery technology.

In January the company invited Miao Wei, the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China to test the ME7. At that occasion, Enovate claimed that it has the first EV model with an all-solid-state battery in the country. It has not formally announced that all ME7 models sold will include this battery technology, but the hints it dropped are pointing in that direction.

Solid-state batteries use both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, instead of the liquid or polymer electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries and are viewed as a possibly more effective alternative to the conventional lithium-ion batteries, although the latter is still the norm today.

“While there may be other technologies showing signs of promise for better performance (i.e. solid-state batteries), we think any alternate approach would need to have substantial advantages to displace the lithium-ion battery as the primary technology for EVs in the near and intermediate term,” said S&P Global Ratings in a comment about the EV industry it shared with KrAsia in February.

The industry has been lithium ion battery-focused and has invested a lot in this while the solid-state battery still needs time to be proven.

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Editor: Nadine Freischlad