King Willem-Alexander opens ELEO battery production plant in Helmond
The TU/e startup makes high-performance battery systems for a variety of industrial applications.
On Thursday, January 26, King Willem-Alexander opened ELEO’s new battery production plant on the Automotive Campus in Helmond. With the opening of the plant, the TU/e startup is increasing its battery production capacity tenfold. The company expects to grow from 60 to 200 employees over the coming two years.
ELEO designs and builds high-performance battery systems for a variety of industrial applications, including construction and agricultural machinery. Using these scalable battery systems, heavier vehicles and machinery can also be electrified in order to accelerate the sustainability of this sector.
The opening of the new production plant is a celebratory moment and an important milestone for the ELEO team. “The trend toward zero-emission is already in full swing in the automotive industry,” says Bas Verkaik, one of the founders of ELEO. “Electric cars are already quite well-known, but that’s not yet the case for construction machinery running on electricity. In construction, electrification is not too far along yet. With our batteries, we want to initiate and facilitate this development. With the new production plant, we’re able to significantly increase our production capacity, which is important in meeting the growing demand for our battery packs. In addition, this plant will serve as a blueprint for further international scale-up over the coming years.”
New production plant
In the new building, annual production capacity will increase tenfold to some 10,000 battery packs. Collectively, these can store around 500 MWh of power. The 3,000 m2 building is equipped with innovative machines and clean rooms which are used to assemble battery modules in a fully automated manner. In addition, the facility has high-tech research and development labs to further advance current battery technology.
The modular approach makes it easy to tailor the batteries to customer demands. “Our system is suitable both for an excavator of 600 volts or higher and for a much smaller vehicle of 50 volts. This significantly lowers the threshold for industry and construction to switch to electric propulsion,” says Verkaik.
From student team to startup
The ELEO company was founded in 2017 by three former students of Eindhoven University of Technology. As one of the first generation of student teams, they gained experience with electric driving and battery packs. In 2016, this led to an 80-day trip around the world on a self-built electric motorcycle.
Following the founding of the company, the first battery systems were launched in 2020. In 2022, the Japanese family business Yanmar Holdings acquired a majority stake.
Learning in practice
Robert-Jan Smits, President of the TU/e Executive Board and one of the speakers at the opening, is pleased to see the university’s spin-off gaining such momentum. “We’re very proud of our alumni who started ELEO and are thereby contributing to a sustainable society. They are living proof of the success of Challenge-Based Learning and entrepreneurship,” says Smits.
In Challenge-Based Learning, students are challenged to come up with concrete solutions to societal challenges, such as sustainability and mobility. The issues come directly from the worlds of business, society or science. People working on these issues in practice are directly involved in education.
To find out more about how TU/e creates impact through fostering successful startups and spin-offs in the field of sustainability and beyond, check out our Impact pages.
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