The Energy Department of the United States has announced that it plans to lend USD362m to CelLink, a California-based startup, to support the construction of a manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Texas, as reported by Reuters on May 12. The loan, which is conditional, is from the government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program and is intended to help develop lighter, more efficient flexible circuit wiring harnesses for the automotive and other industries. The Georgetown facility is expected to produce enough flex harnesses to support 2.7 million electric vehicles annually once it becomes fully operational.
CelLink has developed a new method of connecting battery cells and transferring power and data across vehicle sensors and electronic control units. The company closed a funding round last year with support from several large auto industry players, and intends to find applications for its products in commercial vehicles, agriculture, military and aerospace. The Energy Department noted that most wire harness production for the US market currently occurs in low-cost labor countries due to the complex processes involved with traditional wire harness assembly. CelLink already has products installed in more than a million vehicles on the road and operates a manufacturing facility in San Carlos. The new Texas facility will eventually hold up to 25 manufacturing lines that will be brought online in stages over the next several years depending on demand. The Biden administration aims to have at least 60% of new vehicles being electric by 2030, according to proposed environmental regulations.