GM buys software startup that predicts EV battery fires

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General Motors said Friday it has acquired Algolion, an Israel-based software startup that can detect potential hazards in battery cells.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The automaker did say that Algolion six employees, including the company’s founders, will remain based in Israel and join more than 850 employees at the GM Technical Center in Herzliya, Israel.

Algolion has developed software that is particularly important to any automaker trying to scale EVs. The 9-year-old startup, founded by Niles Fleischer and Alex Nimberger, developed software that uses data streams from EV battery management systems to help identify anomalies in cell performance. The software can help detect battery hazards, including thermal runaway propagation events — which means  the cell catches fire and spreads.

“Algolion has developed cutting edge battery analytics and prediction software that will help General Motors deliver great performing EVs for our customers,” TAC vice president Gil Golan said in a statement.

GM said the software can even spot tiny changes that could affect battery health weeks earlier than other methods. That’s particularly valuable to GM, which has had first-hand experience with battery hazards.

The automaker issued two recalls for thousands of Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to battery fire risk. GM ended up halting production of the vehicles at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan.

GM reported more than 18 Bolt fires globally, which the automaker and its battery supplier, LG Chem, attributed to two manufacturing defects: a torn anobe tab and a folded separator. While, LG picked up the $2 billion tab for the cost of the recalls, GM still experienced a drag on earnings and its reputation.

GM sent out replacement battery modules to dealers, where owners with recalled Chevy Bolts could swap out old modules with new ones. The production pause stretched on for months due to supply chain problems. GM restarted production in April 2022.

A new organization formed by GM to scout out emerging battery technology led the acquisition. The new group, called the Technology Acceleration and Commercialization organization, doesn’t only seek out potential acquisition targets. It also looks for investments opportunities and partnerships that will further GM’s position in battery development.



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