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Carbon Nano Materials Enabling High-Performance Lead Acid Batteries

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CaNE-HiP-LA (Carbon Nano Materials Enabling High-Performance Lead Acid Batteries)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2015-05-31

"The objective of this innovation project is to address the lead acid battery industry’s technology and market challenges through a Carbon-Nano Materials technology solution which dramatically enhances L.A. battery performance, without altering battery design or modifying existing manufacturing processes, and at a nominal cost to the manufacturer. By doing so we will create a substantail market opportunity across our value chain, reduce the huge environmental footprint of the lead acid industry, advance European objectives in emissions reduction, improved fuel economy, and uptake of renewable energy, and reinforce European leadership in Carbon Nano Materials technology.

Lead acid remains by far the largest battery industry, shipping in Y2013 over 750,000,000 units worldwide, with a FabEx value of over $36B, and at a CAGR of 5% -6%. At the same time, the lead acid industry is facing a “tectonic market shift”. With the introduction of micro-hybrid (start-stop) vehicles in Europe and the U.S. the mushrooming of electric 2-wheeler urban transport in Asia, the growing global demand for scalable, cost-efficient electrical energy storage, tightening environmental regulation, and competing chemistries, the industry is struggling to maintain its dominant market position while turning a profit. Meeting these growing industry demands means delivering high-cycle-life batteries, with improved dynamic charge acceptance and deep-discharge ability, while at the same time maintaining lead acid’s #1 competitive advantage - cost.
The objective of this project is to address the lead acid industry’s challenges through an innovative Carbon Nano-Materials technology solution which has been under development by lead acid manufacturer Vulcan and its partners over the last 6 years. VoltaNano enables premium-battery performance based on a standard lead acid battery platform, utilizing existing fabrication lines, and at nominal cost.

The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of launching VoltaNano as a viable business, and building a comprehensive business plan for the VoltaNano international offering. The findings of the feasibility study have been very positive, and the progress made throughout SME Phase I term has already been substantial en route to commercialization of the VoltaNano offering.
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The methodology practiced throughout Phase I, and our key achievements and findings, are summarized below as follows:

Market and Customers
Objective: Mapping the market and obtaining direct target customer feedback across customer-size, technology, and application, in order to determine optimal go-to-market path, business and pricing model.
Methodology: Combined customized Frost & Sullivan market study, with extensive “on the ground” approach in meeting with leading lead acid battery manufacturers, their customers, and suppliers. This was done across technologies, market segments and geographies.
Key Findings and Achievements:
 Met with very strong interest and demand with lead acid battery manufacturers, automotive Tier 1's, and automotive OEM's
 Extensive direct market information in respect to current business and operational models, potential VoltaNano ROI and Pricing models.
 Strong interest from other lead acid battery sectors beyond automotive – specifically high-growth e-bike AGM
 Based on the above we have well defined our go-to-market path, business and pricing model.

Pilot Program
Objective: Design a pilot program as key part of the sales cycle, and achieve at least one customer ready to launch pilot upon initiation of Phase 2.
Methodology: Meetings and detailed discussions with target customers across market segments and geographies.
Key Findings and Achievements:
 A detailed pilot program, including supporting documentation and agreement, are now an integral part of the sales process.

Supply chain
Objective: Define cost-effective and scalable means of build-up and long term maintenance of the logistical supply chain required to support the contemplated business model
Methodology: Tight collaboration with partner, on-site visits to “tolling agents” in key geographies
Key Findings and Achievements:
 Developed highly capital efficient, Fab-less supply chain and logistics model, leveraging partner relationships already in place in key geographies.

Regulatory and environmental
Objective: Define regulatory landscape, determine environmental impact
Methodology: Collaboration with partner on regulatory landscape, independent analysis of environmental impact:
Key Findings and Achievements:
 European REACH certification achieved.
 VoltaNano‘s technology found to have a substantial positive environmental impact in reduction of vehicle carbon footprint

Financials
Objective: Build comprehensive financial model for the VoltaNano business plan
Methodology: Detailed bottom-up modelling of revenue, cost of sales, and operations
Key Findings and Achievements:
 Financial model yielding strong IRR
We have found that the VoltaNano offering met with very strong interest across the lead acid battery value chain, from manufacturers to Tier 1's and through to automotive OEM's. We have further found viable interest in other market sectors (e-bike, industrial). A fab-less, scalable and cost-effective supply chain model has been developed with the assistance of our partner. Environmental impact of reduction of vehicle carbon footprint is in line with European objectives. Financial model based on detailed business plan yields strong IRR.

Based on the above key findings, we have determined strong feasibility of the VoltaNano business.
VoltaNano-enhanced lead acid battery