Even in a down economy, millions of dollars are flowing into start-up companies working on advanced batteries for plug-in vehicles and methanol fuel cells. Three companies operating in the less-sexy side of the new automotive industry – Seeo, CFX and Oorja Protonics – have all raised millions for their operations.
Seeo and CFX are both lithium battery research companies, with Seeo working on solid electrolytes for lithium polymer batteries and CFX developing lithium carbon-fluoride based batteries. Seeo raised $8.6 million (after offering $8.86 million worth of shares) while CFX raised $5 million (out of a total offering of $26.95 million). One reason cited by Greentech Media for the investment is all of the money that the feds are handing out for advanced battery research and manufacturing.

On the fuel cell side, Oorja Protonics, is trying to scale up its methanol fuel cells for use in plug-in vehicles as range extenders. Chief Executive Sanjiv Malhotra said Friday that, "We would have something in 18 to 24 months." Oorja Protonics currently sells its methanol fuel cells to Nissan for work tugs. Thus far, they've only sold a few hundred of the $16,500 fuel cells, but hopes to sell at least four digits' worth in 2010, Malhotra told Reuters.

[Source: Reuters, Greentech Media]

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