Voltabox AG, Delbrück, Germany, has presented a new technical concept for the production and design of lithium-ion batteries. With its innovative Voltabox-Flow-Shape-Design(R) (FSD) technology, the company has addressed several current challenges at once in relation to the development and manufacturing process of traction batteries – in particular, weight, limitations arising due to assembly space, cost factors and operational safety. Voltabox expects this to provide a developmental leap forward for the entire battery industry. With the goal of widespread use, in the future the Group will also make its protected technology available to selected markets via a licensing model.
“With its Flow-Shape-Design concept, Voltabox will initiate a revolution in the lithium-ion battery industry. This was only possible because we called into question every one of the current technical assumptions relating to battery design. We were thus able to establish the basis for a manufacturing process for batteries which will make them significantly lighter, more flexible and cheaper. This really is a groundbreaking development,” says Jürgen Pampel, CEO of Voltabox AG.
By means of a structured innovation process, Voltabox has developed and protected a new production method which greatly simplifies the design of Li-ion batteries. The key feature of this technical concept is the use of the type of self-strengthening materials which are also used in the aeronautics industry. The usage of these materials for the casing makes it possible to produce high-performance batteries very inexpensively and in virtually any conceivable free form. The battery cases of the future will no longer require relatively heavy screwed or welded metal parts. To date, these have been considered essential in order to ensure the robustness of the accumulators. The additional weight which this entails and the rigid casing have generally defined the limits for battery application design.
In the future, self-strengthening and ultimately rigid plastic will enable a significant weight reduction at the modular and system level and thus significantly improve the cost efficiency of Li-ion batteries. Voltabox-Flow-Shape-Design(R) also delivers a previously unknown level of flexibility in the area of battery shape. Assembly spaces can thus be used with much greater precision. Completely new integration options are even possible, such as in defined segments of the body. This entirely novel technological method using self-strengthening materials enables a cell-to-system or even, in the broadest sense, a cell-to-vehicle approach. The use of this technology also means a further significant reduction in the time-to-market.
“Our conceptual innovation is extraordinary and disruptive because we have provided an answer to the key limiting factors for the use of lithium-ion battery technology, such as weight, system price and complex production methods. Flow-Shape-Design considerably reduces battery weight at the system level by comparison with conventional products. Moreover, a significant reduction in the number of individual parts, the use of low-cost materials and the relatively simple production process enable pricing which is significantly more attractive than the current market level,” Patrick Zabel, CFO of Voltabox AG, says.
Voltabox considers that this technology has the potential to have a clear impact on the entire industry. As of the market launch of Voltabox’s Flow-Shape-Design in the summer of 2021, the Group will therefore add licensing to its business model. Several patents have been filed for this purpose, while utility models and trademark rights have already been protected. Voltabox is now successively starting talks with customers on the use of the technology. In the opinion of the responsible Voltabox developers, there are no limits in terms of the potential areas of application.
Jürgen Pampel notes: “Flow-Shape-Design is suitable for any type of battery application. The cost-saving potential will depend on how important factors such as weight and assembly space are for the vehicle type in question. However, in our view the strengths of this technology will make themselves felt not only in the traditional fields of application which Voltabox has catered for to date. For boats, aircraft and stationary applications in particular, the advantages of Flow-Shape-Design are obvious.”
The method enables the use of all available cell types. Thanks to the special case concept and the material’s strongly energy-absorbing properties, the batteries are actually even more robust in terms of shock and vibration resistance. Various materials with specific properties are utilized – always depending on the requirements of the application or customer in question.
According to the Management Board, it is not yet possible to provide a reliable assessment of the business planning impact of the addition of Flow-Shape-Design technology to the Voltabox Group’s product portfolio. Taking into account the calculated investment requirements until market launch, the Company expects positive effects on free cash flow through the use of flow-shape-design. In addition, the anticipated significant improvement in the cost of materials ratio and the expansion of the revenue model through licensing will support the turnaround in terms of the EBITDA margin. The market launch of Voltabox-Flow-Shape-Design(R) is scheduled for the summer of 2021. The company will then commence delivery of its own FSD modules as well as customer-specific FSD battery systems. The Management Board also expects to be able to make the technology available to its first customers by means of a licensing model at this time.
About Voltabox AG
Voltabox AG (ISIN DE000A2E4LE9), which is listed on the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is a system provider for e-mobility in industrial applications as well as in select mass markets. Its core business lies in intrinsically safe, highly developed high-performance lithium-ion battery systems that are modular and in serial production. The battery systems are used for applications including commercial vehicles, such as buses for public transportation, forklifts, automated guided vehicles and mining vehicles. The company also develops and produces high-quality lithium-ion battery systems for select mass-market applications such as pedelecs and e-bikes as well as starter batteries for high-performance motorcycles.
Voltabox has production sites at its headquarters in Delbrück, Germany, in Austin, Texas, USA, and in Kunshan, China.