Swiss watchmaker, Swatch, is considering an initial public offering for its clean power division, which builds batteries for use in electric vehicles.
Developed in conjunction with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the new battery from Swatch's Balenos Clean Power branch has received an increase in interest, attributed to the furore surrounding Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.
As a result of the surge in interest, Balenos Clean Power’s board of directors is investigating the possibility of listing a 20 percent stake in the company.
The battery technology uses a patented compound that replaces the usual rare earth materials of a standard battery with vanadium, which is cheaper to mass produce.
According to Swatch Group CEO, Nick Hayek, the Balenos battery could charge in half the time, and weigh a third as much as the battery pack used by Tesla, while offering greater range.
While the weight and size of current battery technology is something of an issue in the design of electric vehicles, this new technology could alleviate some of the range and packaging issues currently tied to the technology.
As well as automotive uses, the Balenos battery could be applied to drones, electric bikes and scooters.
Production of the vanadium compound battery will begin in June 2016, through the Swatch Group’s Renata company, which currently produces button batteries for use in Swatch timepieces.
Initial production will be as high as 200 units per day, with batteries going into bikes, drones and scooters for test and evaluation purposes. The first automotive applications are set to roll out in 2017.
Battery technology isn’t Swatch’s first foray into automotive technology, with the watchmaker responsible for setting up the first vehicles from smart, before Daimler assumed full control of the company.