Exhibitor spotlight: Sven Schulz, CEO of AKASOL
Sven Schulz, CEO of AKASOL, discusses the ins and outs of the company’s IPO last year, where it is channelling investment funds and what expo attendees can expect to find at the Akasol stand in May.
Please tell us about your IPO last year. How important was it for AKASOL?
As a pioneer manufacturer of high-performance lithium-ion battery systems, we operate in a highly dynamic market that offers great growth potential. Our IPO, which raised approximately €100 million, now invites investors to take part in our growth story and to work with us to further develop our sustainable technology concept. For us, going public was the logical next step in the development of the company. AKASOL was originally founded as a non-profit association as part of a university project. Access to the international capital market now opens up completely new possibilities for us. The funds from the IPO enable us to make the necessary investments in terms of capacity, the development of new locations and, of course, the continued development of our technological leadership.
How do you plan to use this fresh money?
We are currently investing in our Langen plan in Germany to nearly triple our production capacity from 300 MWh/year to 800 MWh/year. This capacity of Europe’s largest production facility for commercial vehicle batteries is enough for up to 3,000 buses or 12,000 commercial vehicles. Additionally, we are expanding into the US market, where we plan to start series production with a volume of another 300 MWh/year by the end of this year. One third of this production capacity is already reserved for existing clients. We are also planning to invest in additional test and validation facilities as well as in our strong research and development department.
You have mentioned that you are fast growing. What does that mean in terms of sales and capacity?
We expect strong growth in the current year: our business volume could triple, as we will fully utilise the production capacity of 300 megawatt hours. And the doubling of this capacity is already starting.
Integral to this growth was the commencement of series production for our two major customer projects at our Langen plant last year. Currently, we are in advanced stages of negotiations with potential new customers in the on-highway and off-highway sectors, so our growth opportunities continue to be very promising.
In which industry is your strongest customer base?
The electric truck and bus markets. In this market, our individually customised battery systems bring emission-free and calm electric mobility to city centres and residential areas.
The market for other commercial vehicles, such as vans or industrial vehicles, in the mining sector is not as fast-moving yet, but will also be characterised by increased electrification in the next five years.
What can your clients and potential future clients expect from your booth at The Battery Show 2019?
Our highlight will be the new high-energy battery system based on our own battery module technology with cylindrical cells. We showed a concept of this solution at last year’s show, but this year we can present a variety of solutions based on that technology, which can be integrated in various long-range applications. With the new AKASOL module technology we will achieve the world’s best-in-class energy densities of up to 200 Wh/kg based on automotive standardised cooling technologies. This is a truly unique achievement well acknowledged by our existing and new key accounts for the rollout in 2020. Besides that, we are going to show our other battery systems for a wide range of applications including electric buses, distribution trucks, refuse collection vehicles and trailers.
AKASOL will be exhibiting at Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe at stand 850. Sven will also be speaking at the conference on 'Assuring Global Competitiveness: European versus Chinese Pack Design' on Wednesday May 8 2019.