SK-SK invests $100 million in North Carolina EV charger startup

SK-SK invests $100 million in North Carolina EV charger startup

DETROIT Reuters Korea's SK Inc invested $100 million in North Carolina startup Atom Power, which aims to upgrade the electric vehicle EV charging experience in the United States with new hardware and software, the companies said on Thursday.

According to Chief Executive Ryan Kennedy, the eight-year-old Atom Power has developed a digital circuit breaker that provides more control, flexibility and reliability to EV charging, especially for commercial fleet operators and managers of multi-family dwellings in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Atom Power's EV pedestal and wall chargers include an Internet-connected digital panel that houses the company's solid-state circuit breakers. The devices allow safer charging because high voltage is eliminated at the pedestal or wall box while vehicles are not charging, according to the company.

Kennedy said that the EV market is desperate for a new way to scale, drive revenue and accelerate adoption, and that Atom Power's device can be used in other industries to shift from analog to digital power delivery.

SK said that Atom Power's core technology was the main driver behind its decision to invest.

The SK group, Korea's second largest group after Samsung, has acquired an additional $50 million stake in Atom Power from earlier investors, making it the largest outside shareholder.

SK intends to expand Atom Power's business across the U.S. and globally. According to investor website PitchBook, Atom Power previously had raised funds from the corporate investment arms of Siemens and ABB. The two European industrial giants are key players in EV charging technology and systems.

SK has a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Ford Motor to build EV batteries in Kentucky and Tennessee, and supplies batteries to Volkswagen's U.S. operation from its Georgia plant.