Scottish Investment Bank invests in pioneering low carbon technology company

electric vehiclesEdinburgh-based technology company, Dukosi, has secured an equity investment of close to £320,000 to develop the first commercial phase of a pioneering new technology for electric vehicles.

The investment was led by Par Equity, with co-investment from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The proceeds will enable the company to bring its new technology to the market for the first time. The Electric Vehicle Optimisation Integrated Circuit (“EVoIC”) lies at the heart of the revolutionary system being created and addresses three issues that currently limit the adoption of electric vehicles.

•The range of a vehicle from a single charge is limited.
•The batteries are expensive and need to be treated carefully to avoid premature
 degradation.
•Residual values needs to be extracted from used batteries to offset high battery costs.

The EVoIC system significantly extends the range of a vehicle from a single charge. In addition, it manages how the batteries are charged and discharged in such a way that their useful lifetime is lengthened. The technology also greatly enhances the reuse and recyclability of used vehicle batteries.

Joel Sylvester, CTO, explained how EVoIC works:

“An electric car battery consists of many battery cells, typically around 100, and each will have a slightly different performance. To maximise the vehicle range we need to know the exact energy levels within every cell within the battery.

“To achieve this, a low cost EVoIC chip is embedded in every cell so we can obtain very precise measurements from each one individually. This enables us to squeeze the maximum energy from the battery system without causing it any damage when it is being discharged. Also, when it is being charged we can ensure that every cell is topped to the maximum possible level without causing any harm.”

Dukosi first looked at a battery management system for electric cars as part of a contract for a large US car manufacturer. This led the company to develop its own ideas for a smarter system of energy management within electric vehicles and in 2011 the company decided to explore developing its own automotive products in addition to doing integrated circuit (“IC”) design services work. A prototype chip was developed which proved that an embedded battery cell measurement concept was technically feasible.

In late 2013 the company was shocked by the tragic death of CEO Dr Stephen Churcher and, with the support of the Churcher family and its other shareholders, underwent restructuring to allow it to progress. New CEO, Dr Gordon Povey, joined the company in January this year and has worked with Dukosi to develop on the ambitious plans created by Dr Churcher. The company is now being relaunched with this new investment and a commercialisation plan for the revolutionary EVoIC system.

Dr Povey explains Dukosi’s commercial approach:

“The market for electric vehicles is now really taking off, especially in the Far East but also in the USA and now Europe. This is a great opportunity for us since the market is shifting from the ‘early adopters’ to the ‘early majority’, which requires that electric vehicle technology must continue to improve to drive future sales. The battery system is one area where there is great scope for improvement.

“Existing research is primarily focussed on developing better battery cells and hydrogen fuel cells. Dukosi’s approach is to work with the cells provided and maximise the energy output from them, as well as ensuring that they are protected from damage.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank, commented:

“We are pleased to have been able to invest alongside one of our longstanding co-investment partners, Par Equity, in this investment round. Dukosi is a great example of a company exploiting the benefits of the transition to the low carbon economy, with a product with an international market. Funds raised will allow the business to continue to drive forward.”

Dukosi plans to have the EVoIC system ready for customer trials in the second half of 2014, with a final commercial EVoIC chip being ready for volume production during 2015. There are already several electric vehicle manufacturers interested in trialling the EVoIC system. The company is now hiring technical and commercial staff and expects to triple in size during this year.

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