Before we can unbox and power up a new laptop or drive off the lot with a new electric vehicle, someone has to test the batteries against a set of strict safety, performance, and even country-specific standards.
That someone quite likely is Cindy Millsaps. Or at least someone on her growing team.
Millsaps, an electrical engineer based out of Gainesville, Georgia, started her career in the testing space at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the global safety certification company whose logo you may see on various consumer products. After heading up Motorola’s global testing services operational activities, she went on to found battery and cell testing startup Energy Assurance in 2011 with John Copeland, a fellow Motorola testing employee.
After explosive growth in its metro Atlanta facility and acquisition of a lab up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Energy Assurance has grown to be the largest independent battery testing site in North America.
Millsaps tells Hypepotamus that her company helps test batteries and cells for battery, cell, and device manufacturing companies. That might look like making sure lithium-ion batteries are safe to ship or benchmarking new battery-powered devices against competitors.
After its Northeast area expansion, the team is looking to grow in the electric vehicle (EV) space to work on speed of charging and life of the cells and then ultimately into energy storage systems.
“In the EV market, [a battery] can stay on [testing equipment] for seven months to three years because they are trying to prove their chemistry and their technology,” Millsaps says, making it crucial to find a robust testing facility.
The new lab facility will help Energy Assurance test lithium-ion and other cells up to the 1350A range.
While Millsaps admits the energy storage side of the business doesn’t make as “exciting” headlines as Tesla and Lucid Motors do, testing in the area is important for how companies are thinking about future energy use.
“Grid storage typically sits behind a power plant that builds up excess capacity overnight and charges up the batteries to be used during peak hours,” she adds.
With the proliferation of consumer electronics and the ongoing chatter surrounding electric vehicles, it’s no surprise that the battery testing market is expected to reach $2.22 billion by the year 2027.
The team doubled quickly after opening its Gainesville, Georgia testing location. After scaling in “sweat equity,” Millsaps says they brought on their first external investor in 2020.
Now, the Energy Assurance team will grow by seven with the new Massachusetts lab site acquisition. But Millsaps says the team is dedicated to the Georgia technology space. While many of the team’s early customers were on the West Coast, she says the new focus on EV in Georgia and the Southeast makes it a unique time to grow Energy Assurance from Gainesville.