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30 June 2023

General Motors Acquires Algolion: Enhancing Battery Safety in EVs

General Motors Acquires Algolion: Enhancing Battery Safety in EVs

General Motors announced on Friday that it has acquired Algolion, an Israel-based software startup that specializes in detecting potential hazards in battery cells. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, GM did mention that Algolion's six employees, including the founders, will continue to be based in Israel and join the GM Technical Center in Herzliya, Israel.

Algolion has developed cutting-edge software that is particularly crucial for automakers looking to scale electric vehicles (EVs). The startup, founded by Niles Fleischer and Alex Nimberger nine years ago, has created software that utilizes data streams from EV battery management systems to identify anomalies in cell performance. This software can help detect battery hazards, including thermal runaway propagation events, which refer to situations where a cell catches fire and the fire spreads.

According to GM, Algolion's battery analytics and prediction software will play a significant role in enabling the company to deliver high-performing EVs to its customers. The software is capable of spotting even the smallest changes that could impact battery health weeks before other methods. This capability is especially valuable to GM, as the automaker has previously faced challenges related to battery hazards. GM had to issue two recalls for thousands of Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to the risk of battery fires. The company temporarily halted production of the vehicles at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan. In total, GM reported over 18 Bolt fires worldwide, which were attributed to two manufacturing defects: a torn anode tab and a folded separator. While LG Chem, GM's battery supplier, covered the cost of the recalls, the incidents had a negative impact on GM's earnings and reputation.

During the production pause, GM sent replacement battery modules to dealerships, allowing owners of recalled Chevy Bolts to swap out their old modules with new ones. However, the pause lasted for several months due to supply chain issues. GM finally resumed production in April 2022.

GM's Focus on Battery Technology

The acquisition of Algolion was led by a new organization established by GM to explore emerging battery technology. Known as the Technology Acceleration and Commercialization organization, this group not only seeks potential acquisitions but also identifies investment opportunities and partnerships that can further enhance GM's position in battery development.

By acquiring Algolion, General Motors aims to strengthen its commitment to battery safety in EVs. The advanced software developed by Algolion will enable GM to identify and address potential battery hazards more effectively, ensuring the safety and reliability of its electric vehicles.

General Motors, Algolion, software startup, EVs, battery safety, battery hazards, thermal runaway, battery analytics, prediction software

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