Last month, Google.org’s director for climate change and energy initiatives, Dan Reicher, told us that Google would be making investments in green cars this summer through it’s plug-in hybrid program, RechargeIT. Well, here it is: Austin-based lithium ion battery start ActaCell said on Tuesday that it had raised $5.8 million in a Series A round led by DFJ Mercury and included Google.org’s RechargeIT program, Applied Ventures (the VC arm of Applied Materials), and Good Energies.
Update: ActaCell CEO and president Bill Ott tells us the company, which currently has fewer than 10 employees, will use the money to hire more personnel to work on developing the technology. Ott says the company plans to work quietly on technical development for the next year and then will look to raise more money to bring a product to market in 2010. At that time, Ott says, he’ll be able to divulge more details about the company’s technology.
ActaCell’s technology was developed in the Material Science and Engineering labs of Professor Arumugam Manthiram at The University of Texas at Austin. The startup says its lithium ion batteries have a longer cycle life at a lower cost than its competitors and are safe (a concern for the technology). In a release Ned Hill, managing director at DFJ Mercury, said that the batteries would be particularly valuable for the plug-in hybrid vehicle market.
Google’s move to invest in a lithium ion battery company could also have benefits for their various projects in mobile electronics. Reicher said Google.org would be making multiple investments in plug-in cars so we’ll likely be seeing some more announcements over the summer, perhaps in smart charging and electric vehicle infrastructure. Next up, the G-Car? Update: Google invests in electric car startup Aptera.