Each week, Just Auto’s editors select a deal that illustrates the themes driving change in our sector. It may not always be the largest deal in value, or the highest profile, but it will tell us where the leading companies are focusing their efforts, and why.

Our thematic deal coverage is driven by our underlying disruptor data which tracks all major deals across our sectors.

Today, it’s the acquisition by General Motors of Israeli software specialist ALGOLiON.

The deal

General Motors recently announced that it has acquired ALGOLiON, an Israel-based battery software start-up.

The acquisition was led by the Technology Acceleration and Commercialisation (TAC), a newly formed group within GM that identifies emerging technologies that can support GM’s position in battery development.

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ALGOLiON’s software uses algorithms to identify changes that could impact battery health weeks earlier than other methods in use, without additional hardware or sensors, GM says.

ALGOLiON employees, including the company’s founders, will remain based in Israel and join more than 850 employees at the GM Technical Center in Herzliya, Israel. The team will be led by Guy Daniely, senior engineering manager at GM.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Why it matters

ALGOLiON has developed sophisticated software that uses data streams from EV battery management systems to help identify anomalies in cell performance and provide early detection of battery hazards including thermal runaway propagation events.

Fire hazards have emerged as a risk factor in lithium-ion battery technology and GM has acquired a  company that has technology addressing battery health and early warnings. It could be a highly significant competitive attribute to future GM electric vehicles.

It is claimed the ALGOLiON software uses sophisticated algorithms to identify miniscule changes that could impact battery health weeks earlier than other methods in use today without additional hardware or sensors. Moreover, it is also claimed it can perform that task while the battery is still operating. 

The move also bolsters GM’s technical resource at its Israel-based operations where other synergies and efficiencies are possible in a larger team. GM Israel is part of GM’s Global Product Development Group, working on key vehicle programmes. GM Israel specializes in advanced technologies including software and algorithms, machine learning, software defined vehicles, cyber security, and user-facing applications for autonomous, electric and connected vehicles that are shaping the future of mobility.

GlobalData analyst Al Bedwell described the acquisition as a smart move for GM. “It also points to the growing awareness at many OEMs of the need to consider the whole EV ecosystem and all touch-points to the consumer in future EV use as the transition from ICEs to EVs gathers pace,” he said. “Developing applications in advanced technologies comes with the need to be well-positioned with the right resource and skills base, especially in software capabilities. This is an example of a selective acquisition that complements the existing resource base at an OEM.”