Swatch Needs Up To Three Years For Its EV Battery To Receive Certification

Swiss watchmaker Swatch sees its electric vehicle battery taking another two-to-three years to certify.

Developed through research firm Belenos, the Swatch-backed battery will go through a series of tests with Swatch’s Chinese partner, automaker Geely, said Swatch CEO Nick Hayek in an interview with broadcaster SRF on Friday.

“We’re in the process of putting a prototype into operation in Itingen, Basel, (Switzerland) where we’ll test the first batteries with our Chinese partner Geely for the mobility of their cars,” Hayek said. “But it will take another two to three years until we receive the necessary certification.”

The Reuters report doesn’t specify where that certification will come from. Battery makers tend to use certifications for batteries and charging from Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Underwriter Laboratories (UL), and Intertek.

In a press release, Swatch announced its alliance with Geely for use of the Swiss company’s new battery technology. The company said that for the past few years its Belenos subsidiary has worked with ETH Zurich on an innovative batter than aims to be at least 30-percent more powerful than conventional counterparts.

Hayek said the car battery being developed by Belenos has the same technology as what’s being used for small batteries for e-bikes, drones, and watches. Belenos was started up in 2008 as Belenos Clean Power Holding by Hayek’s since-deceased father. Swatch holds a 51 percent stake in Belenos.

“It will proceed a lot faster there,” he said. “We have partners, including ones in Switzerland, with whom we’re already testing the (smaller device) batteries in some cases.”

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In 2015, Swatch said it was going to jump into the EV battery game with the goal of reaching $10 to $15 billion in sales by 2020. Investors balked at the strategy as being too expensive and unrealistic. The 2020 target appears unrealistic at this point, with the needed two-to-three year testing and certification clearance still ahead.

Swatch has been dabbling in electrified urban cars for year. Daimler’s Smart car brand was born out of an initial joint venture between the carmaker and the watch company. Swatch had floated the idea of making small cars like its watches – interchangeable body panels and colors that could be customized by the buyer.

At some point, Swatch was said to have pulled out the Smart car joint venture, years before it became common on European roads in gasoline-engine and all-electric variations.


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