GM invests $60 million in AI battery startup for affordable EVs

A shift from NCM-based batteries to LFP-based materials.
Sejal Sharma
3d rendering group of electric cars with pack of battery cells module
3d rendering group of electric cars with pack of battery cells module


To accelerate the commercialization of cheap electric vehicles (EVs) batteries, General Motors is investing $60 million into Mitra Chem. This Silicon Valley startup uses artificial intelligence to develop lithium-ion battery materials, which will shorten the lab-to-production timeline by over 90 percent.

“This is a strategic investment that will further help reinforce GM’s efforts in EV batteries, accelerate our work on affordable battery chemistries like LMFP and support our efforts to build a U.S.-focused battery supply chain,” said Gil Golan, GM vice president of Technology Acceleration and Commercialization, in a press release. 

The AI-driven platform enables Mitra Chem to test a hundred kinds of cathode designs faster. GM’s investment will help Mitra Chem scale up its operations. The latter will develop advanced iron-based cathode active materials (CAM), providing affordable and accessible EV batteries compatible with GM’s Ultium batteries.

According to the company press release, two-year-old California-based Mitra Chem has been at the forefront of battery technology research, focusing on developing sustainable and high-performance energy storage solutions.

“GM’s investment in Mitra Chem will not only help us develop affordable battery chemistries for use in GM vehicles but also will fuel our mission to develop, deploy and commercialize US-made, iron-based cathode materials that can power EVs, grid-scale electrified energy storage and beyond,” said Mitra Chem CEO and Co-Founder Vivas Kumar.

A shift to LFP-based batteries

Many EV batteries use a nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) mixture, which is more expensive than the CAM materials, like Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and manganese-enriched LMFP, Mitra Chem will be producing.

Automakers like Ford and Tesla are already using LFP-based batteries. But one downside of LFP is that it doesn't allow it to pack as much energy as NCM.

“GM is accelerating larger investments in critical subdomains of battery technology, like cell chemistry, components, and advanced cell production processes. Mitra Chem’s labs, methods, and talent will fit well with our own R&D team’s work,” added Golan.

The new batteries could be seen as early as 2030 in GM vehicles.

The passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year to combat and curtail the climate crisis has increased the demand for US-made battery materials, a market China is leading in.

Mitra Chem claims that it is one of the only US-based iron-based cathode manufacturers that enable purchasers of EVs developed in the US to qualify for the full suite of tax credits passed in the IRA.

Mitra Chem was cofounded by Vivas Kumar, CEO, along with Will Chueh, chief scientific adviser, and Chirranjeevi Gopal, chief product officer.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board