SAN JOSE, Calif. Boston-Power came out of stealth mode today (Nov. 6) to say it has garnered $8 million in first-round venture financing. The startup plans to deliver a novel lithium ion battery for notebook computers in the first half of 2007.
Boston-Power is considered one of the more promising members of a handful of battery startups by some OEM battery specialists. The company's batteries are based on a modified chemistry and a "systems-level" design geared to provide laptops longer battery life and greater safety, said chief executive and founder Christina Lampe-Onnerud.
"Lithium ion is maturing and it's going to hit a ceiling. That opens a door for innovation," she said.
Boston-Power (Westborough, Mass.) was founded in January 2005. It has a manufacturing plant in Shenzhen, China.
Word of the startup comes as existing battery makers are shifting from compounds using cobalt to manganese, nickel or iron for some battery components. The emerging chemistries will provide incremental gains in energy density, but they will also force changes in charge and cut-off voltages, said one OEM battery specialist who asked not to be named.
A spokesman for Texas Instruments said many chip makers such as TI are already delivering charge circuits geared for the new batteries.
While chip performance rushes forward at the pace of Moore's Law, lithium ion battery capacity has only quadrupled since it was first commercialized in 1991, said Onnerud.
"The chemistries are coming along slower than most people thought," said the OEM specialist.
Boston-Power also hopes to address the safety issue with its products in the light of the recall of as many as 9.6 million notebook lithium ion batteries built by Sony Corp.