As part of its mammoth transition to electric driving in the coming years, Volkswagen said Jan. 23 that would invest $10 million in an American startup specializing in battery technology.
California-based Forge Nano is developing a chemical process to make battery cells more efficient.
"A higher energy density would have positive effects on the range of electric vehicles," Volkswagen said, adding that it would "provide support for industrial trials of this technology."
With its twelve brands from Porsche to Skoda, the Wolfsburg-based group has budgeted 44 billion euros (US$50 billion) for its electric transition between now and 2023.
Small venture capital investments beyond traditional auto industry suppliers show VW is "increasingly investing in international start-ups to bring innovative technologies forward to production maturity," the firm said.
In September 2018, it announced a $100 million investment in California's Quantumscape, which is working on next-generation solid-state batteries that could replace today's lithium-ion cells.
Across the German car industry, big firms are splashing out on investment in a bid to catch up the electric head start seized by competitors from abroad, having sat out developments until VW's "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal broke in 2015.
Copyright Agence France-Presse 2019