We reported on Porter Harris from our piece on SpaceX’s battery development ‘Tesla is not Elon Musk’s only company developing high-tech battery packs‘ – and also when covering Faraday Future (FF) since Harris joined the company as ‘Chief Battery Architect’ in November 2014 – and then one more time when he suddenly left the company just before it came out of stealth mode, but not before designing their EV battery pack.
Harris has since co-founded his own startup, Romeo Power, to design battery packs for other companies and today they announced a $30 million in seed and unveiled their new production facility.
As previously reported, Romeo, which now has 190 employees, hired several engineers from Tesla, Apple and Samsung to launch their energy storage systems.
Serial entrepreneur Michael Patterson, Romeo Power founder, and CEO, is leading the company, but the engineering team is led by Harris who is credited as lead designer of several world-class battery packs, like for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Batteries, Cargo Dragon Spacecraft Batteries and for Crew Dragon Spacecraft Batteries.
Harris said that they used their experience in energy storage systems for space and aerospace applications to build Romeo’s system:
“We’ve applied technologies developed for applications in space and aerospace, and we’ve improved upon them to create products that break new ground for EVs and stationary energy storage,”
They developed a modular battery pack system with cylindrical lithium-ion cells. Most electric cars on the road today use pouch or prismatic battery cells except for Tesla’s vehicles, which use cylindrical cells – something Tesla first pioneered in the Roadster years ago.
But Romeo makes bold claims about its technology surpassing the competition:
Highest Energy Density: The Romeo Power technology offers the highest energy density by 25 percent, providing dramatically increased range.
Fastest Charge Times: With the highest thermal performance, the technology is optimized for the fastest charge times, decreasing standard battery charge times by 15 percent to 30 percent.
Superior Safety: All designs are built with inherent thermal runaway mitigation and feature multiple fault-tolerant software and hardware to protect against cross cell propagation.
The company is selling the battery packs to fit “cars, power sport vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and forklifts.”
They claim already having $65 million in initial orders scheduled for delivery in 2018 and they unveiled their battery pack used in forklifts:
They are producing the battery packs at a new 113,000 square foot manufacturing facility near downtown Los Angeles.
Romeo Power wrote in a press release today:
“The company’s fully automated 113,000 square-foot manufacturing facility is on track to be complete by the end of the year. Romeo Power designs, engineers, test, and produce all of its lithium-ion battery packs on-site, and the facility features the only research and development and testing lab on the West Coast. The battery packs are designed and optimized based on specific power and energy density needs, ranging in size from 1 kWh to 1 MWh. Romeo Power will be at 1 GWh of capacity on a single shift by the end of 2017 and will quadruple its capacity in 2018 to 4 GWh per shift.”
They released a few pictures: