Bosch, the German industrial conglomerate, has agreed to acquire Seeo, one of the hottest advanced battery startups in Silicon Valley, Bosch confirmed today.
The move is a big play by Bosch, a major supplier to the automobile industry, to penetrate the electric car space. Seeo is regarded as having made impressive advances in solid state technology—which avoids the use of flammable liquid electrolyte—and in the development of lithium metal anodes, a holy grail of battery technology.
Linda Beckmeyer, a Bosch spokeswoman, said the financial terms of the deal won’t be released. She said that Bosch has acquired all of Seeo’s intellectual property plus its research staff.
Seeo did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But in December, CEO Hal Zarem announced plans to manufacture a battery with a specific energy density of 300 watt hours per kilogram, which would be about double that of existing commercial lithium-ion batteries. That feat has not been announced as of yet.
The deal is one of the first in a technology space that has been marked by gloom after the sharp optimism of five years ago. In acquiring Seeo, Bosch—an incumbent that analysts say has long tried to break into advanced batteries—gets a company that has a good chance of success in producing batteries that will follow the current lithium-ion age, in the 2020s and beyond.
Cosmin Laslau, an analyst with Lux Research, told Quartz that Seeo had a setback last year in which it had to switch battery chemistries—a pivot that was seen as slowing its way into the market. In addition, its battery must be operated at 80 degrees Centigrade, which is extremely hot and is another barrier to the market.