Small Canadian battery company takes on world’s heavyweights
UCW News Team | November 14, 2016
The large-scale rechargeable battery industry is dominated by heavyweights such as Panasonic, Samsung and Tesla, but among these Goliaths stands a David, a small battery maker from Canada.
Electrovaya is an lithium-ion battery manufacturing company run by University of Toronto Faculty of Engineering Adjunct Professor Sankar Das Gupta that has generated revenues of $47million over the last five years.
Investors believe it can grab a bigger share of a market estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance to be worth $321billion by 2040. In the last 12 months, shares in Electrovaya, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario, have risen nearly fivefold, reaching a market value of $297million.
Lithium-ion batteries are one of the latest ways to store energy from the sun, wind and other sources, and can be used to power just everything from household appliances to cars, and a study published last month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that utility-scale batteries will be as commonplace within 12 years as rooftop solar panels are today.
Electrovaya Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Das Gupta has said that the company’s patent-protected proprietary technology gives it an edge. Electrovaya uses a solvent-free production process, which is more environmentally-friendly, while its flexible ceramic separator can withstand extremely high temperatures, protecting it from fires. Electrovaya batteries boast double the lifecycle of its rivals’ batteries, according to Gupta.
He went on to predict that Electrovaya will generate $200million in revenue in 2017. And Gupta, who owns 54 percent of Electrovaya, according to Bloomberg-compiled data, said he has no intention of selling his stake, despite receiving some interest.
“We do not want to be part of anyone,” Gupta told Bloomberg. “We are hoping to become the next General Electric.”
Electrovaya has had to come up with some inventive ways of attracting funding. Last year, it acquired Daimler’s ion battery manufacturing unit - the largest in Europe - for a fraction of its value after the German automobile manufacturer decided to quit that section of its the business. Gupta said the company did this by offering Daimler the chance to offload an inoperable asset cost-free, while keeping on its employees.
Small businesses such as Electrovaya are proving there is no shortage of innovation in Canada, but aspiring entrepreneurs need business acumen to succeed in a highly-competitive global business environment.
The University Canada West (UCW) Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is designed to provide students with business education, corporate training and executive education. As a result, UCW MBA graduates can embark upon sustainable careers in Canada, driving a successful economy.