Welcome to South Korea

Fifteen hours away by air from Denver, is an amazing country doing big things in batteries and clean energy. Nestled on a peninsula in East Asia, South Korea has become a global leader in pop culture, technology, and the production of hardware for solar and energy storage.

Earlier this month, Nikola Power was selected as one of 7 winners in LG Chem’s first battery challenge and had the opportunity to visit South Korea as a result. Nikola Power was part of an impressive group of startups from around the world that competed for a chance to collaborate with LG Chem on future energy storage solutions, products, and services.

After four days in South Korea with some of the most sincere and intelligent energy storage experts in the world, I am more excited about the future of Nikola Power than ever. LG Chem’s research facility in Daejeon (South Korea’s 5th largest city) is a world class complex with hundreds of dedicated energy storage experts building, challenging, and designing pieces of our clean energy future. I could not be more proud to be one of seven global startups selected to work with LG Chem’s terrific Open Innovation and Research teams to map out how we can all collaborate to drive innovation and adoption in clean energy storage.

LG Chem is a world leader in the manufacturing, design, and engineering of battery cells, solar equipment, automotive technology, and even cute robots that clean and operate various components of a smart home. The Battery Challenge recruited startups covering specific sectors within the battery space including new materials, design, manufacturing and recycle and regeneration and management and control. Nikola Power was the only startup selected specifically for technology development within management and software control, notably with our proprietary Energy Management System (EMS).

Our Intellect EMS is potentially a perfect fit with LG Chem’s hardware and master BMS control algorithms. The idea of integration of Nikola Power’s EMS with LG Chem’s BMS is to provide customers a complete solution that can combine Nikola Power’s advanced forecasting and optimization methods with LG Chem’s expertise in battery management and chemistries to save customers money in diverse energy markets and situations. Our selection to go to South Korea was an opportunity to craft a customized pilot program designed to scope out full integration and go to market strategies.

We were told by LG Chem that our selection for this type of coordination is possible due to a number of factors including our flexibility as a company and the sophistication of our products, combined with our team’s experience in deploying renewable energy projects in challenging new markets over the last 12 years.

The next step is to finalize the full scope of a pilot partnership which is expected to take 6-8 months. The ultimate goal is to provide an analysis to LG Chem’s management to show how a full integration of our technologies can save customers more money and improve battery longevity, health, and performance. Integrated BMS/EMS solutions are a game changer for Nikola Power’s software business model, allowing us to deploy our software at scale around the world with one of the industry’s largest and leading innovators.

We did not have much time for sightseeing but were able to enjoy many great meals with some local hits, including bibimbap, soju, tteokbokki, and a spectacular Korean BBQ feast on our last day in Seoul. These are certainly some exciting times here at Nikola Power!

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Evan Hung