Our Next Energy’s remarkable journey reaches a range of 752 miles in real-world testing in the modernized Model S


Concerns about range anxiety have been well documented among prospective electric vehicle owners. Case of over-range? These are harder to find.

On the way home from a road trip designed to test the range limits of a prototype battery, that’s exactly what a team of engineers from a Michigan startup, Our Next Energy Inc. ., has met.

After starting the day in the Detroit suburb of Novi, Michigan on the morning of December 17, the team traveled north in a Tesla Model S equipped with its own battery. They drove north for hours, only to turn around at the Cut River Bridge in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Gradually on the way back, they recognized that the battery drain would take longer than expected.

“On the way back we realized we were going to need to burn more energy, so we decided to go to Lansing, then after Lansing we knew we still had to burn more energy,” he said. said CEO Mujeeb Ijaz, for the ride in a pursuit vehicle, tells Automotive News. “So we went to Ann Arbor, and then we went to Detroit, and finally, we were like, ‘Let’s go home. “”

By the time they got home at 2 a.m. they had driven 752 miles on their demo battery without recharging. The real-world test took place at an average speed of 55 miles per hour and temperatures peaking at 41 degrees Fahrenheit in southeast Michigan and occasional windy conditions.

This mileage roughly doubles the range of electric vehicles on the market today. Depending on its configuration, the Tesla Model S travels between 348 and 405 miles, according to the latest figures reported by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Chevy Bolt achieves a range of 259 miles, according to the EPA. The Lucid Air topped them all with a range of up to 520 miles, albeit at a vehicle sticker price that starts at $ 77,400 and goes up to $ 169,000.

Fight beach anxiety

For Ijaz, the results of the sprawling road trip indicated that Our Next Energy (ONE) had reached a milestone in the development of an extended-run battery that could one day allay consumer anxiety about battery life. electric vehicles.

“One of the first goals we set for ourselves to accomplish an upcoming program is to increase the range of electric vehicles, because we really believe that range and adoption are linked,” Ijaz said. “… The problem with electric vehicles today is that we promise people some range, but the vehicles don’t measure up to that in the real world.” So we decided to double the amount of energy. we could embark. “

A third-party company validated the results, according to ONE, by placing the same vehicle on a dynamometer. It achieved a range of 882 miles at 55 miles per hour.

ONE, which was founded in July 2020, addressed this challenge with a hybrid battery approach. Engineers created a high-performance battery designed to handle daily driving and withstand frequent charges. A second battery with a different chemistry will extend the range for occasional long trips.

The first battery, called Aries, is built to last and is expected to go into production by the end of this year. The second, called Gemini, is the proof of concept that ONE tested during its walk in Michigan. The results of the road tests will help move the battery to production, although Ijaz says R&D efforts continue.

In particular, the Gemini battery prototype contained cobalt. Ijaz is determined to avoid cobalt in its finished product, due to supply, price and range considerations.

“First and foremost, we want a new set of materials,” he said. “Let’s focus on materials that are responsible, sustainable and can be extracted anywhere in the world, without geographic constraints.”

ONE closed a Series A round in October, receiving $ 25 million from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the climate-focused venture capital fund launched by Bill Gates. Other participants in the round included BMW i Ventures, Flex Ltd., Volta Energy Technologies and Assembly Ventures, a Detroit-based venture capital fund.

Breakthrough effort?

Ford Motor Co., Apple and A123 Systems veteran Ijaz said the historic roadtrip was a moment to remember. Not necessarily because of the final reach reached, but because of the view he had on the road.

At one point, the gasoline-powered pursuit vehicle he observed testing had to exit the freeway and refuel. The electric car powered by its battery did not need such a break.

“Watching it all unfold has been one of the highlights of my career,” he said. “This vehicle kind of kept going, day and night. I think that’s a pretty remarkable thing.”


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