Battery maker Boston-Power fills coffers to expand

The lithium ion battery maker gets $55 million in a Series D round to accelerate move from laptop batteries into transportation and utility energy storage.

Laptop battery maker Boston-Power on Wednesday said it has raised $55 million to expand its manufacturing, and develop lithium ion batteries for transportation and potentially other applications.

The Series D round was led by Foundation Asset Management, the investment arm of a Swedish foundation, along with existing investors Oak Investment Partners, Venrock, GGV Capital, and Gabriel Venture Partners. Altogether, 4-year old Boston-Power has raised $125 million.

Boston-Power founder and CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud holds a Sonata lithium ion battery cell. Martin LaMonica/CNET Networks

Boston-Power's first product a long-lasting battery called Sonata , is available for Hewlett-Packard laptops . While the run time of current laptop batteries starts to degrade after about 150 charges, the Sonata can go for 1,000 charges without the same degradation, according to the company. It can also be charged quickly, getting 80 percent of capacity in half an hour.

The Westborough, Mass.-based company has sought to make its batteries environmentally sustainable as well by not using PVC plastic or heavy metals--cadmium, arsenic, or mercury--in the manufacturing process.

With the fresh funding round, Boston-Power intends to boost its manufacturing, and develop batteries for cars and potentially for utility-level energy storage , co-founder and CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud said.

"We took on the mission of creating a more satisfying experience with laptops, and now we can go into transportation more seriously," Lampe-Onnerud said.

The funding--a sign of confidence in an energy technology company--comes at a time when many clean-tech start-ups are having to scale back with layoffs in order to preserve cash. Certain technology areas, including energy storage and energy efficiency, however, are better placed than others.

 

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