Schwarzenegger-Backed Startup Takes On Tesla With New Battery Tech


TESLA may be the best-known electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, but its grip on the industry isn’t certain. The Elon Musk-founded company has plenty of competition, including the Austrian startup Kreisel Electric GmbH – backed by former California governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar and his nephew. Having experienced sweeping success in the past two years, Kreisel is moving into a $12 million research center and battery assembly facility where it will test new battery technology.


Since 2014, Kreisel Electric GmbH has been operating out of a three-door garage. Now the startup is moving into a $12 million facility where its technology to improve upon its promising technology. “In the past two years, battery development has really taken off, and it’s now becoming incredibly dynamic. We have a different way of going about developing the technology, and we don’t carry any baggage,” said co-founder Markus Kreisel.

Now that licensing deals have been signed, the startup’s battery technology will enter production lines with carmakers in 2020. The Austrian company has experienced rapid growth primarily because it promises to squeeze an extra 65 percent from standard lithium-ion batteries using its own patented laser-welding and thermal-cooling techniques, according to Bloomberg.


Kreisel has received backing from not one, but two Schwarzeneggers. Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, Arnold’s nephew, led an investment round in the start-up, and Arnold hired the brothers to add an electric drivetrain to his Mercedes G-Class off-roader, according to Bloomberg.


Though changes are afoot, the startup still faces challenges. So far they have only secured charginginfrastructure cooperation with Porsche Holding Salzburg and VLD Groep in the Netherlands, for whom they need to deliver 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs. The brothers must proceed carefully, though, as 95 percent of technology companies working in the electric and autonomous car spectrum will likely fail, according to BMW’s development head Klaus Froehlich.


One of Kreisel’s tactics to “survive” the competition is to focus on the development of technology and leave mass production to Tesla’s challengers. Markus Kreisel said, “Our goal isn’t to get into large-scale production of batteries but to help carmakers with the development of the technology.”

Kreisel Electric GmbH


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