Startup Sunday: Amazon funds transformer-based EV fast charger

Diverging estimates of renewable energy installed

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In this week’s installment of Startup Sunday, we have three companies making potentially disruptive innovations in photovoltaics and electric vehicles. 

Transformer-based EV charging

Amazon tapped into its Climate Pledge Fund to invest in Resilient Power, a transformer-based EV fast charging maker. Amazon is joined by GS Futures in a $5 million seed round investment. 

Resilient Power’s solid-state transformer can be installed as an EV charger.
Image: Resilient Power

Resilient makes a solid-state transformer that integrates a traditional step-down transformer, charger, power management, and bi-directional inverter into a single device. The charger can handle solar and storage, vehicle to grid, and microgrid capabilities in the same unit. 

Amazon’s investment aligns with its plans to have 100,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. 

Solar cells without silicon wafers? 

Leap Photovoltaic, a startup that was founded in 2020 by MIT alum David Berney Needleman, could leap into the solar spotlight with a claim that it can cut solar cell production costs in half. 

Leap uses a 3D printer-like machine to integrate a single-layer powdered silicon attached to a substrate. The design uses one tenth the silicon, 90% less water, and 70% less energy to create these wafer-less photovoltaics, the company said. 

Leap is working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, San Diego to develop and test the design. Pilot production is slated for 2023, and Needleman said the company could ramp up manufacturing as soon as 2024. 

Solar hatchback maker eyes an IPO

Sono Motors approaches a startup milestone as the Munich, Germany based company filed for its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in U.S. equity markets. The IPO is slated for the first half 2023. 

The Sono Sion.
Image: Sono Motors

The all-electric hatchback has solar cells integrated into the body. Sono said the range is about 190 miles, and the car is expected to be sold in Germany starting at less than $30,000. The company said it also can integrate solar cells into buses, trailers and trucks, and light-duty electric vehicles. 

The IPO states that Sono has received 14,000 reservations for its Sono Sion hatchback. News reports said the company seeks a $1 billion valuation.

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