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Battery Startup Sparkz Opens Its First Factory in California

(Bloomberg) —

Advanced battery startup Sparkz Inc. will unveil Friday a manufacturing plant in the San Francisco Bay Area, part of a wave of planned US factories that will supply the cells that now power phones, cars and even the electric grid. 

Sparkz has already installed the equipment at its 15,000-square-foot facility in Livermore, California, and plans to begin production by early February, Chief Executive Officer Sanjiv Malhotra said in an interview. 

The company expects to initially supply batteries that will power buildings and the grid, rather than electric cars, Malhotra said. President Joe Biden has made the development of a domestic battery supply chain a high priority, and manufacturers have announced plans for several US facilities, often working with automakers that will build EVs. 

“There is a huge need for energy storage, and right now, it’s basically met by importing from China or South Korea,” Malhotra said. 

Unlike most modern batteries, Sparkz’s cells use a combination of lithium and iron, and don’t contain costly cobalt or nickel. Malhotra declined to identify any initial customers.  

The plant, funded in part with about $25 million in state grants, is the company’s first in California and will be followed by a larger “gigacampus” in the state, he said. Sparkz has committed to investing $700 million in California over the next five years, and has also announced plans for a factory in West Virginia

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.


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