Wright Electric launches Wright Batteries
Last week, Wright Electric launched Wright Batteries, an initiative to develop batteries targeting pack density 1,000wh/kg.
Wright’s proprietary batteries would be four times more energy dense than lithium ion batteries that power today’s electric vehicles, enabling electrification of areas such as mining or large passenger aircraft. Wright’s founders say given that the majority of aerospace carbon emissions are in aircraft with 100 or more passengers, these batteries would enable “a paradigm shift in decarbonisation”.
“When I founded Wright, the best vehicle batteries had an energy density below 250 wh/kg,” said Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright. “Now several large manufacturers are advertising cells at double that capacity, and we have visibility into new battery chemistries that could get us to our target of 1,000 wh/kg.”
Founded in 2016, Wright works with groups such as NASA, Y Combinator, The US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy and the US Department of Defense. During that time it has built power dense electric motors, inverters and generators for aerospace and defence applications. For example, Wright recently tested its industry-leading electric motor to megawatt and is planning for altitude testing at the NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT).
Colin Tschida, head of Powertrain at Wright, said: “We have developed experience building lightweight thermally managed electric propulsion systems, and we see a way to apply that knowledge to the design of large molten battery packs. To cultivate a breakthrough in energy storage, we engaged four chemistry PhDs to act as scouts for promising battery chemistries. This month, we are beginning our second phase of validation experiments with the approaches that showed the most promise.”
Since 2021, Wright has been conducting experiments with battery technologies that have been overlooked by conventional battery manufacturers. Some battery types are unsuitable for consumer electronics or grid storage, however they could be ideal for applications that need light weight, safe and compact batteries.
Wright is working with multiple academic centres and industry partners to achieve these batteries. Initial packs will be released for laboratory testing in 2025 with first rollout to aerospace and defence early adopters targeted for 2027.