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GM buys Israeli startup to detect early battery defects

REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Ramos Arizpe, in Coahuila state, Mexico, on November 25, 2017

General Motors said on Friday it had acquired Algolion Ltd, an Israel-based software startup that helps detect problems in batteries.

GM said Algolion’s software will help the Detroit automaker bring to the market a “cost-effective” early hazard detection system at a quicker pace.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, comes at a time when automakers are investing billions in manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and rushing to develop batteries – which represent up to 50 percent of an EV’s price tag – that can power an automobile for a longer duration.

It also comes as safety authorities urge US automakers to improve battery standards after a series of events where vehicles have caught fire due to defective modules.

Algolion has developed a software that uses data from EV battery management systems to help identify anomalies in cell performance and provide early detection of battery hazards including “thermal runaway propagation events,” GM said.

A thermal runaway is a rapid and unstoppable increase in temperature that leads to fires in EVs.

Algolion, founded in 2014, will join more than 850 employees at GM’s Technical Centre in Herzliya, Israel.