If engineering a technology that makes ultra-fast charging of standard lithium-ion batteries possible without compromising their cycle life isn’t enough, how about literally accomplishing this right from your basement?

That’s exactly what Ottawa’s GBatteries has accomplished. It all began when Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer, Tim Sherstyuk decided to measure to what extent cell phone batteries hold less and less charge with age.

“We started in 2012, in my parents’ basement,” explains Tim Sherstyuk, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer. “My dad and I have always done geeky projects together and we had a basement laboratory that we built over time with equipment and random electronics. Since batteries age faster in high temperature environments, I have to give credit to my mother allowing us to charge batteries in the oven. It was a family effort.” That experiment became a two-year project, which led to GBatteries.

Solving the number one problem with batteries

“The problem with batteries, apart from energy density, is long charging speeds: the faster you charge the battery, the faster it degrades. Our technology, a combination of software and hardware, solves this issue without changing the battery chemistry or manufacturing process. Instead of trying to create a completely new kind of battery, we work with off-the-shelf, existing commercial batteries and make them better.”

AI plays a role in GBatteries process, helping to determine the charging pulse profiles to preserve battery chemistry. “We’re using advanced algorithms to measure what’s happening inside the battery and making adjustments in real-time, which lets us decrease the amount of irreversible damage that happens.”

As for how they set themselves apart from competing companies working on this well-known battery issue? “Our top value to potential customers is not compromising the battery’s life cycle.”

Charging the company with skilled workers

The company relies on the abundance of skilled workers, such as hardware and software engineers, as well as being in the heart of one of Ontario’s biggest tech hubs. “Ottawa is great because there’s an established tech industry here with lots of skilled workers, without the intense competition for them as you find in Silicon Valley.” Talent, coupled with accelerators at home with Ontario Centers of Excellence, and away with Y Combinator, jolted GBatteries successful start.

Charging the future and changing it for the better

The company has electric vehicles in their plans, as a long life-cycle battery is the most critical component of electric vehicles. Battery issues are a top barrier to entry for both corporate fleets and consumers. “Today’s batteries take a long time to charge – compare an average charge time of over five hours verses the few minutes it takes to fill up your gas tank.”

But GBatteries’ innovative combination of software, algorithms and intellectual property has the potential to make electric vehicles much more attractive to consumers. Theirs is truly a game-changing technology that has the potential to benefit not only the electric vehicle industry, but the environment as well. “We’re thrilled to be working on something that could make electric vehicles more accessible, and we love being able to do that from right here in Ottawa.”

March 13, 2020
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