The U.S. is betting big on homegrown electric-vehicle manufacturing, starting with batteries.
Our Next Energy, a battery production startup, announced on Wednesday it raised a whopping $300 million Series B, bringing total funding to $390 million and raising its valuation to $1.2 billion, according to Crunchbase data.
The Series B was led by Franklin Templeton Investments and real estate-focused Fifth Wall with additional participation from the likes of Temasek Holdings and Coatue. The latest raise will help fund the operations of its battery cell factory that completed construction in December and will formally launch in 2024.
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“We are transitioning from a startup funded by venture capital to a manufacturer fueled by growth capital,” said ONE CEO Mujeeb Ijaz. (Ijaz previously worked at Ford and Apple’s secretive transportation initiative before founding the company in 2020.) “That’s important in this environment where urgent demand for U.S.-based cell manufacturing is on the rise.”
Charging up the market
Indeed, the U.S. trails China in battery manufacturing. And, thanks to the rise of electric vehicles and the subsequent need for high-powered, easy-to-scale battery technology, that’s something the U.S. government is looking to change.
The Inflation Reduction Act promises subsidies for EV companies, including a tax credit for those that use battery materials sourced in the U.S. The U.S. also passed a new law called the Invent Here, Make Here Act to prevent new developments in battery technology made in the U.S. from going overseas.
This comes at a time when supply chain issues and the rising cost of battery and metal material are bottlenecking U.S.-based electric-car manufacturers. Funding for electric-vehicle startups has plummeted from its 2021 highs thanks to the rising cost of materials. General Motors announced on Tuesday electric-vehicle production would slow down due to manufacturing and logistics issues.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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