Featured Article

One company’s quest to eliminate battery fires

Accure sparks $7.8M Series A2 to use AI to predict lithium-ion battery failures


gm extends orian assembly plant shutdown of chevy bolt evs until end of january
Image Credits: General Motors

Battery fires are bad. Just ask LG, GM, Tesla, Volkswagen or any of the hundreds of people whose e-bikes have caught fire. While fires caused by EVs are a relative rarity compared with fossil fuel vehicles, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous.

But there’s something that batteries have that fossil fuels don’t: the ability to monitor themselves.

“Every lithium-ion battery is an IoT device,” Accure co-founder and CEO Kai-Philipp Kairies told TechCrunch+. “All of these batteries are generating heaps of data.”

Batteries are going to be everywhere in the next couple decades, reshaping everything from cars and trucks to toys, home furnishings and more, all things that people interact with on a daily basis. The potential for fires could increase as adoption grows, but it doesn’t have to. All that data that batteries are generating gives us a window into how they’re operating. It also gives us a chance to predict when they’ll go haywire.

Kairies and his co-founders started Accure with an eye toward minimizing battery fires, taking problematic cells out of service before they pose a hazard. The team creates a digital twin of the batteries it monitors, starting with models based on the physical properties of the specific chemistry and construction and blending in artificial intelligence to aid in predictions.

“We’re using the sensors and we’re dissecting the signals into what are the underlying properties causing the signals. Then we use prediction mechanisms for the underlying behaviors. And from there, we can use a model again to say, what is this leading toward?” he said.

“As far as I know, we’re the only company that has consistently been able to correctly predict thermal runaway in a battery days and weeks before it happens,” he said. “We can’t guarantee 100%. That’s just not possible. But we can substantially reduce the fire risk of a battery.”

The company announced Tuesday that it has raised 7.2 million euros in a Series A2 led by Blue Bear Capital and HSBC Asset Management with participation from Riverstone Holdings and Capnamic Ventures.

Accure collects data from partners whose batteries are already cloud connected. Today, that means a large number of electric vehicles and stationary storage installations. It charges a subscription for its service, and while Kairies said he couldn’t disclose any revenues, he did say his company counts TotalEnergies, New York City Transit and BVG, the Berlin transit agency, as customers.

Stationary storage may not be nearly as visible as EVs, but the market is poised for remarkable growth. By the end of the decade, stationary storage capacity will grow over fivefold, according to BloombergNEF. Much of those will be batteries.

The obvious low-hanging fruit is to identify and take out of circulation cells that have the potential to cause catastrophes; think a short-circuited cell in an EV, which causes a “runaway thermal event,” also known as a conflagration that takes firefighters hours and thousands of gallons to douse.

For automakers and their suppliers, the advantages would be significant. GM and LG, for example, spent a combined $2 billion to recall every Chevy Bolt ever made. Kairies said that Accure’s models can help identify which cells pose the most risk, allowing regulators and companies to target them first for a recall. In one case, Kairies said, a company that retained Accure during a recall investigation was able to leave some of its batteries in operation because the regulator became sufficiently confident that they wouldn’t pose a problem after following Accure’s analysis for several months. It saved the company under investigation seven figures, he said.

Next up are grid-scale storage operators. For them, Kairies said, uptime and consistent operation are paramount. Especially in certain markets like Texas, being able to provide power when the grid is under stress is handsomely rewarded. A well-operated grid-scale battery “is basically a money-printing machine,” he said.

But if those batteries aren’t working as intended, the asset operator could be leaving money on the table, like if a battery stops charging a few percent shy of its intended target. If the magnitude of the shortfall is large enough, the missed revenue would be significant. Proper monitoring and forecasting could minimize that downside. We’ve been in situations where a customer got a return on our annual subscription in one day,” Kairies said.

Such battery-monitoring services may become standard in the future, but like everything in the artificial intelligence and computer modeling worlds, data is everything. Having a head start in collecting that data can give companies unfair advantages against newcomers. Whether Accure possesses an unfair advantage today remains to be seen, but the company is at the very least in the right place at the right time.

More TechCrunch

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.