Carmakers are engaged in an intense race to acquire the chemical recipe that will deliver the most energy at the lowest price and in the smallest package. G.M.’s announcement last month that it would go all electric by 2035 was widely considered a landmark moment by policymakers and environmentalists. But to many people in the battery industry, the company was stating the obvious.
“This was the last in a wave of big announcements that very clearly signaled that electric vehicles are here,” said Venkat Viswanathan, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University who researches battery technology.
Battery manufacturing is dominated by companies like Tesla, Panasonic, LG Chem, BYD China and SK Innovation — nearly all of them based in China, Japan or South Korea. But many new players are getting into the game, and investors, sensing the vast profits at stake, are hurling money at start-ups that they believe are close to breakthroughs.