Maxwell+spark is a leading innovator in lithium-ion technology for industrial mobility systems, and particularly in LiFePO4 battery systems. The founders have a long track-record of award-winning innovation, and products that deliver industry leading performance, reliability and ROI. Maxwell+spark engineers and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for industrial users to reduce both their operating costs and their carbon emissions. As a result, both customers’ business operations and our society are improved. Maxwell+spark has its roots in South Africa since 2015, and in early 2022 initiated a production facility in Rotterdam, from where it is expanding its market in Europe and North America.

Interview with Clinton Bemont, CEO Maxwell+spark.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Clinton Bemont: Our unique battery systems are tailored to our customer’s needs, ensuring they are able to optimally transform their operations to become greener, more efficient and more cost effective. Maxwell+spark was the first company in the world to commercialize diesel-free transport refrigeration systems, we also build industry-leading lithium-ion batteries for motive equipment (from forklifts and reach trucks, to ground support vehicles) as well as static energy storage and the intelligent telemetry and data analysis systems for monitoring them. Maxwell+spark has a unique proposition in the European market for its latest product in electric cold-chain trailer transport refrigeration. With approximately 500k trailer units on the road in the EU alone, and 30,000+ new trailers deployed p.a., there is a clear demand for greener logistics solutions. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

C.B: Our aim is always to innovate and improve, thereby challenging ourselves to design and manufacture products that are clean, cost-effective and low in maintenance. Our products are morphing all the time!

To provide one example of recent innovation:

Since opening up in Rotterdam last year, we have completed a successful trial with TIP Europe and Unilever to fit four of their reefer tailers with our system (a li-ion powered battery refrigeration system). These innovative new units have performed so well, that the carbon saving per system is comparable to taking 10 to 15 diesel cars off the road, and an even larger particulate emission saving equivalent to taking between 50 and 150 diesel cars off the road. This is accompanied by significant cost savings. Consequently, we have recently received a large order from TIP to supply further units for a larger fleet rollout.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

C.B: We began our operation in South Africa before moving into the EU. In the EU, we have the following product lines: – lithium ion powered cooling system for reefer trucks, which means zero on-road carbon emissions and particulate pollution. – high-efficiency, low maintenance lithium-ion batteries tailored for motive equipment such as forklifts, reach trucks and ground support equipment. Reducing carbon emissions by between 15% and 70%.

In Africa, we also offer: – static power lithium-ion battery solutions for cell phone towers, some incorporating unique cell-module level anti-theft features. – lithium-ion powered cooling system for rigid trucks.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

C.B: Maxwell+spark is in an industry that is rapidly changing – we have seen a massive increase in the demand for energy storage systems with the drive towards greener solutions. We have very few competitors, and as yet possibly none that truly are our direct competitors. We were the first to market globally with our li-ion powered transport refrigeration systems. And due to our intellectual property, continuous innovation, four continent footprint, and long history in the lithium-ion space, our systems outperform incumbents in a combination of price, reliability and longevity and function.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

C.B: As the world moves towards greener goals, the challenge of energy storage will only increase (and with this, the challenge of sourcing enough lithium-ion). We therefore like to engineer for sustainability and for the future, to ensure that our batteries are part of the solution. We specialize in LiFePO4 chemistry lithium-ion, a cobalt free, highly stable and ultra-long cycle-life chemistry, which is leading the market in sustainable energy storage solutions, and we use cells, formats and systems that are considered easier to second-life and easier to recycle (although that is not expected to be needed for 15 to 25 years).

We see continued growth in the lithium-ion energy storage space, as well as continuous improvements and innovations in greener logistics.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

C.B: Maxwell+spark is looking forward to further growth in 2023, based on our delivered and proven technical performance in field as well as repeat purchasing from large companies such as TIP, Unilever, Spar, Bidfood and Coca-Cola. We are on track to double or triple our production internationally this year.