An Arizona company developing a new kind of lithium battery for electric vehicles said that an expansion of its current Tucson manufacturing operation will add more than 150 jobs when it is finished in 2026.
Sion Power Corp. says it is scaling up development of its proprietary Licerion hybrid lithium-metal unit, which it describes as an ultra-high energy next-generation lithium metal battery for electric vehicles, or EVs. The company said the battery uses special anode technology that is capable of delivering up to 500 watt hours per kilogram — an energy density measurement that is nearly double that of many standard batteries today.
The company announced earlier this year that in its testing it had reached a development milestone with its Licerion technology, demonstrating more than 2500 cycles to 70% of initial capacity.
“The global construction of battery manufacturing plants is occurring at a rapid pace, and the United States can’t be left behind,” Sion Power CEO Tracy Kelley said in a statement. “With our facility expansion in Tucson, Arizona, it will allow Sion Power to further our mission of scaling battery manufacturing from research and development to commercialization. This enables us to better serve our customers and their applications.”
Sion Power’s expanded production facility will include fully automated battery cell production and anode manufacturing capabilities, and it will be used for testing as well. The expansion site is an 111,400-square-foot building at 6950 S. Country Club Road in Tucson near its current headquarters at 2900 E. Elvira Road.
The expansion project will double the company’s footprint and is expected to have a $341 million impact over the next five years.
The announcement comes at a time when the Grand Canyon State is seeing more activity from battery manufacturers.
Another company, Utah-based American Battery Factory, also recently announced plans to build a $1.2 billion battery manufacturing plant across 267 acres in the Tucson metro. At the time, that was the third large-scale factory to be proposed for Arizona in the past two years following KORE Power’s announcement to build in Buckeye and LG Energy Solution’s plans to build in Queen Creek.
Along with those projects, Heritage Battery Recycling in October announced plans to construct a lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Eloy in Pinal County. Heritage is an affiliate of Cirba Solutions, which already has a battery recycling facility in Mesa.
Sion’s project partners include the Arizona Commerce Authority, Pima County, the city of Tucson and Sun Corridor Inc. Tucson City Council is considering incentives for the project.
“Sion Power’s expansion further emphasizes Arizona’s global leadership in battery and EV technologies,” ACA president and CEO Sandra Watson said in a statement. “We are excited Sion Power will continue its impressive legacy in Tucson, manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles while expanding Arizona’s battery supply chain.”
Sion Power was founded in 1995, and much of its work since then has focused on research and development in preparation for commercialization. The company was the recipient of one of Arizona’s largest venture capital awards of 2021, getting $20 million in late-stage VC funding.
Over the past year, Sion Power has appointed several key executives in connection with its plans to begin scaling its operations, including Michael Canada as chief manufacturing officer in December 2021. Canada was then named chief operating officer in October, while Mack Treece was named chief financial officer in June and Carlos Restrepo was appointed chief technology officer in October.
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