Strata has helped Levistor become one of the EIC winners in the June 2022 call
Electric Vehicles (EVs) have existed for more years than we may think, but in the last decade they have emerged as a key enabler for the necessary decarbonisation of transport and for the transition to an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In this transition, as part of the European Green Deal, the EU will completely phase out new sales of fossil-fuel vehicles by 2035. However, some important technical challenges are holding the EV revolution back, remarkably, EVs’ higher costs, limited autonomy and long charging time.
Fast charging is, in fact, one of the most critical challenges e-mobility must overcome. EV users demand charging times comparable to fossil-fuel refueling but, for this to happen, the electric grid needs to be upgraded to support higher power capacities. The problem is that the upgrade of Europe’s distribution grid will be astronomically expensive, with needed investments amounting up to €425B according to Eurelectic. New technologies and solutions are needed to facilitate this massive step forward.
Based in London, Levistor was founded in 2021 by Matt Journee, Tom Andrews, Ivan Roitch and Keith Pullen, with a focus on clean-tech through electrification. Levistor’s mission is to electrify major industries such as automotive as soon, efficiently and low-cost as possible.
Levistor has developed a low-cost, durable energy storage technology that will enable super-fast charging of electric vehicles.
Levistor has developed an innovative Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS) that can boost the electric grid at local charging points to achieve ultra-fast charging for EVs, providing a cheaper, safer, more environmentally friendly and faster solution than existing alternatives – mostly lithium-ion batteries. We at Strata are working closely with Levistor and have accompanied them through a successful EIC application that will help Levistor receive an important economic boost in their journey to lead the transition to a decarbonized economy.
Journey, challenges and opportunities
Although Levistor was founded in 2021, the team has been working with the technology for ten years. A successful journey but not without challenges and difficulties as well.
“So far, I’d say the biggest challenge we have had to face is to scale up production because we see a huge demand for energy storage, so the biggest challenge is to produce thousands of flywheels per year”, Tom Andrews told us.As he said, it is difficult to maintain a focus because there are many options within this industry. “The huge major option is around electrifying mobility at a low-cost. Apart from cars, there are also trucks, then you’ve got electric buses, which is kind of starting, but we also see those options in the industrial sector, more and more in the UK and around the world. It’s a good place to be, for sure”, Tom Andrews told us.
Levistor’s team is focused on the long-term and envisions the company to be involved into full-scale production
“We’ll be looking forward to expanding across Europe in particular, although we see there is a lot of potential all around the world. However, the initial focus will be on the UK and Europe, so our main challenge will be grow even further”.
Levistor experience with the EIC
“The EIC grant was very interesting for us because its length is long. It’s a two-year grant and the way it is administered seemed to be very interesting for us. It was quite a lot of cash which was very good for an early-stage company like us”.
As Tom Andrews explains, the amount of the funding is very significant for an early-stage company, up to 2.5 M€, which is difficult to get from the market. “The EIC is giving us a two-year round effectively to get to the point where we actually start sales and it gives us a much bigger chance to turn into a big successful European company in an area that I think is quite important for the UK and for Europe”.
It’s a huge vote of confidence in what we are doing
Thanks to the EIC, Levistor will be strengthening its partnership with a big regional equipment manufacturer while expanding their international demonstrators, which will get them straight to the commercialization phase, which is a massive step for an early-stage business like them.
“For a technology company like us, you can spend a lot of money to get into that point. It’s actually quite difficult to raise capital at this point because most VC people want to see that you’ve got sales and so that’s why this grant is actually great for us”.
Levistor and its collaboration with Strata in the EIC application
Strata and Levistor have worked together to become a winner in the EIC Accelerator June 2022 call, which will award almost 400 M€ to 75 companies distributed across Europe.
“What was clear to us was that we wouldn’t be able to apply without Strata. We have successfully applied for lots of grants in the UK, for example we’ve applied for Innovate UK grants, but we found that applying for European grants without a partner like Strata would have been a waste of time. It’s a very tough process and to be honest when we were going on to the EIC website we were quite lost, so we found that we definitely needed a partner like Strata”.
It’s been a pleasure working with Strata, I think they did a fantastic job
As Tom Andrews explains, Strata ended up handing in a very big piece of work and all of the way through the process he was thinking they really needed a partner. “For me, lots of the questions weren’t obvious and I didn’t understand what the EIC was asking so I thought ‘if you are going to do this you definitely need a partner’. Strata had a lot of experience and we found the whole team very professional”, concluded Tom Andrews.
Article and interview by Sara Gavidia
Image credit by Pixabay.