Slovakian AI Battery company InoBat has announced hiring former Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, who has been appointed non-executive vice-chairman for the completion of the company’s research and development center that is planned to open in 2022.
The surprise announcement comes as the construction of the research center and the production line is about to start in the high-tech battery company only about 40 kilometers from the capital Bratislava, in Voderady.
European media have picked up on the somewhat controversial appointment of the venerable British carmaker’s former CEO, as Palmer is reported to have pocketed over $83 million in stocks, shares and bonuses from Aston Martin, while the company is still struggling with serious financial difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped the renowned British carmaker’s fortunes as it has seen an 89 per cent drop in the value of its shares during the past 12 months.
Palmer, who has previous experience with battery technology from his work at Japanese car manufacturer Nissan, is joining a team of other high profile business and technology experts at InoBat, such as co-founder Faysal Sohail, a well known American investor in a number of Silicon Valley technology ventures as well as Slovakian investor Marián Boček. Cambridge-educated Boček brings his expertise from his previous investment company IPM Group which is currently valued at around $1 billion.
What is an Artificial Intelligence Battery?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is actually not deployed within the battery as such, but is used during the development and calibration of the product.
“No other producer of battery cells has such a quick and effective technology for testing and discovering the chemical components of batteries” as InoBat, claims co-founder Marián Boček.
The main advantage of the technology is the modularity of the research and development process, in which the final product can be calibrated to the specs of the clients in record time. The batteries can be tailored to cars of any sizes and performance is much faster than with conventional development methods.
Apparently, the resulting batteries have a better environmental footprint than their conventional counterparts, as the involvement of AI makes the development process less dependent on Cobalt. Due to the cells’ higher energy density, the manufacturer claims to be able to produce a 20 percent increase in operational range for current electric vehicles.
Although the company was founded only last year, the first batteries are planned to roll off the production line in 2021. Apart from the research center InoBat also plans to build a €1 billion mega-factory by 2015. This is supposed to produce enough batteries annually to equip 240.000 electric vehicles.
Slovakia and neighboring Hungary are a major hub for German, French and Japanese car manufacturers, such as VW, Audi, Jaguar/Landrover, and Suzuki. All manufacturers are purporting to expand their range of electric and hybrid vehicles following a global trend in moving away from vehicles running on fossil fuel. Car manufacturing is also essential to Slovakia’s economy, being responsible for 12 percent of the country’s GDP and employing over 80.000 people.
The planned InoBat plant will also benefit from the proximity of the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power station only 30 kilometers away, as drawing its energy needs from nuclear power will further enhance the company’s goals of creating battery cells from low=carbon footprint sources.