The startup, which makes batteries designed to perform better in extreme heat and cold, also has Lockheed Martin, LG, Taiyo Nippon Sanso and Shell as backers.

A South 8 scientist works on a laptop in front of a large machine
Photo courtesy of South 8 Technologies

Porsche Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of sports car producer Porsche, invested an undisclosed amount in advanced lithium-ion battery developer South 8 Technologies today.

San Diego-based South 8 is working on lithium-ion batteries equipped with LiGas, a blend of non-toxic, non-corrosive gases it has developed that liquefies under pressure. LiGas is designed to provide higher amounts of energy, particularly in low temperatures, while charging more quickly and reducing fire risk.

“As extreme weather events become more common, we’ve seen that traditional lithium-ion batteries struggle to perform in high heat or freezing cold environments,” South 8 CEO Tom Stepien told Global Corporate Venturing.

“Since South 8’s LiGas is a liquefied gas electrolyte, it is able to maintain its high performance from -60°C to 60°C, which is especially important for electric vehicle batteries that need to function in all different climates. LiGas dramatically improves the overall energy performance, charging speed and cost of lithium-ion batteries that can also be used in aerospace, defence platforms, stationary storage and more.”

The company is the second battery startup to get funding from Porsche Ventures in the past week, following its participation in a $59.8m round for battery recycler Cylib last Wednesday. Its portfolio also includes battery cell manufacturer CustomCells and electric vehicle charging platform &Charge.

“Porsche Ventures is an exceptional addition to our investor syndicate,” Stepien said in a press release announcing the round. “As the venture capital arm of Porsche, they are keenly in tune with the battery imperatives for next-generation EVs and hybrids.

“With more frequent harsh weather events around the globe, it is increasingly obvious that we need a battery that is optimised for reliable energy performance in extreme climates.”

The technology is intended for use in electric cars as well as in defence and aerospace, industrial and marine vehicles in addition to stationary energy storage systems, a variety of applications that reflect the range of South 8’s corporate backers.

The CVC subsidiaries of aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin and electronics producer LG Ventures joined Foothill Ventures and Anzu Partners to invest an undisclosed amount in South 8 in August last year. Gas distributor Taiyo Nippon Sanso and oil and gas provider Shell have also been backers of the company from an early stage.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.