As if Chris Anthony didn’t have enough to do as chief of composite operations for Aptera, a startup working on a futuristic-looking, ultra aerodynamic three-wheeled vehicle, and CEO of hybrid boat maker Epic Boats. The multi-tasking entrepreneur has just taken on another project as the head of a new company called Flux Power, which plans to launch a family of products next month for managing, monitoring and charging lithium batteries.
Based in Vista, Calif., Flux is a spin off from LHV Power (formerly called HiTek Power Corporation), which sells power supply systems to corporations including Applied Materials and Kodak. Flux plans to market technology for a range of energy storage applications, including electric vehicles and backup power supplies. Chief Technology Officer Joseph Gottlieb told me this morning that the company will use lithium cells from a variety of manufacturers and integrate them into a battery with the Flux management system. Customers — an automaker, for example — will then be able to take that modular system and create their own battery pack.
“Once they’re done tuning their system” in prototype testing, Gottlieb explained, Flux’s modular approach will enable it to meet large-scale orders at relatively low cost, and Flux’s smart charger can be easily integrated. Gottlieb said that part of what Flux is marketing is similar to the piece of the electric vehicle puzzle that Tesla is providing Daimler for its Smart ED battery packs, but with an important difference: Tesla is creating a “custom box for a particular vehicle,” he said, while Flux is creating modular solutions that can be adjusted to some degree for different applications.
As Anthony explains in the company’s announcement this morning, Flux’s system will “manage and record the life cycle of a lithium cell,” with the intention of making lithium batteries cost-competitive with lead-acid energy storage options currently used in golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and fork lifts — markets that may be lacking in glamor, but not opportunity. According to Gottlieb, the company is now in discussions with automakers — but it’s in the “preliminary evaluation” stage. If Flux can take as much cost out of the equation as quickly as it’s now promising, we expect it could find some takers.
Photo credit Aptera