There’s a reason we’re very careful when covering “potentially breakthrough” technologies — the large majority of them never make it to commercialization; or, if they do make it, they don’t necessarily come through with the disruptive cost they anticipated. We had quite a bit of hope for Envia’s potentially breakthrough battery technology, especially since it seemed that GM was very bullish about the technology, but it seems that this might have been another case of too good to be true.
The GM–Envia deal seems to have been dropped. Furthermore, “the company is alleged to have used other companies’ technology in its battery tech (one part allegedly stolen, one part purchased and used as if it was their own),” Katie Fehrenbacher of Gigaom reports.
The PR firm representing Envia has responded to the lawsuit claiming the above infringements, stating, “The allegations in the complaint are baseless. The evidence will show that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit is nothing more than the spurious allegations of three disgruntled former employees.” However, it hasn’t denied the collapse of the GM deal, on which its whole future seemed to be based.
As noted back in February 2012 (yep, quite a while back), “Envia’s research was funded by the venture-capital arm of General Motors, GM Ventures, which may mean that GM would get first dibs on this ‘breakthrough’ technology.” If GM has really given up hope, it doesn’t seem as if Envia has any promise after all.
So, I don’t really think there’s much else worth reporting on at the moment. But if you want to learn more about the lawsuit, or dig into the claims Envia made back in 2012, Katie’s article is a good one. And you can check out ARPA-E’s two pages on Envia (2009 PDF and website 1-pager). And you can of course check out our original story on Envia.