Chime’s Slowdown Highlights Limits of Bank DisruptorsRead more

Biden signed the climate bill, containing about $100 billion for batteries, on Aug. 16. To his left, Sens. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

The Electric: The U.S. Is Making Innovative Batteries. Will China Make Them Irrelevant?

Photo: Biden signed the climate bill, containing about $100 billion for batteries, on Aug. 16. To his left, Sens. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

This Thursday: The Electric celebrates its 1-year anniversary with a special Live Chat featuring Bob Galyen, one of the foremost experts on establishing a battery supply chain. Bob is the former chief technology officer of Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., or CATL, the Chinese battery giant, and is now a major force in standing up a competing U.S. battery industry. Register here to join us for this subscribers-only event on Thursday, September 8 at 3 pm ET. Email me if you'd like to invite a guest: [email protected]  

Meanwhile, the battery race is heating up: The U.S. is throwing more than $100 billion at the decade-long establishment of a battery industry to compete with China's. This week, we dive into that contest, in addition to a second battery race going on at the same time—pitting the developers of silicon and lithium-metal anodes against each other.  

On Wednesday afternoon, Rick Luebbe, CEO of battery startup Group14 Technologies, reviewed the company’s application for $100 million in federal infrastructure funding meant to accelerate the U.S.’s ability to make silicon anodes, a component of advanced electric vehicle batteries. Already, Group14 was better positioned than most of its rivals, having won a prized early contract to supply anodes to Porsche beginning in 2024. But Luebbe said the grant would allow his Woodinville, Wash.–based company to double its planned initial production and make enough anodes to equip some 600,000 EVs. Luebbe OKed the application, which his team submitted to the Department of Energy by the 5 p.m. ET deadline.

Group14’s application was part of a last-minute crush by battery startups seeking a slice of the $3 billion allocated toward building a U.S. battery supply chain in last year’s federal infrastructure law. When you include the Inflation Reduction Act that President Joe Biden signed into law last month, such companies are in competition for chunks of $100 billion in grants and loans that the federal government is throwing at the battery buildout. That’s a massive amount. Over the past decade or so, the leading battery startups have spent roughly $1 billion cumulatively.

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