Sparkz Wins $12.5M CEC Grant Under the Zero-Emission Transportation Manufacturing Program

The following Notice of Proposed Award was published by the California Energy Commission on August 24, 2022.

Sparkz wins $12.5M grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) under the Zero-Emission Transportation Manufacturing program to “scale up manufacturing of our Cobalt-free battery technology” in the State of California. 

On March 30, 2022, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released a grant solicitation and application package entitled “GFO-21-605, Zero-Emission Transportation Manufacturing.” This grant solicitation is an offer to fund in-state manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), ZEV components and batteries, and ZEV charging or refueling equipment.

The grant solicitation announced the availability of $60 million to fund agreements resulting from this solicitation and that the CEC, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to increase or reduce the amount of funds available under this solicitation. Based on available funds from the California Budget Act of 2021 and the California Budget Act of 2022, the CEC is proposing to award an additional $124,672,200 to fund additional applications with a passing score. A total of $184,672,200 is now available under this solicitation.

Funding is awarded first to the highest scoring application with a passing score within each of the four product categories. The remaining funds will then be allocated to the next overall highest scoring applications with a passing score, regardless of product category, in ranked order until all funds available are exhausted.

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Founder & CEO

Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra

Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra is the founder and CEO of Sparkz—the battery start-up reinventing the energy supply chain.


Malhotra has been a leader in the energy sector for nearly three decades as a founder, investor and executive. Most recently, he served as the inaugural director for the Energy Investor Center at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), serving under both Democratic and Republican administrations.


At DOE, Malhotra led the Obama Administration’s initiative to boost public-private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of technologies developed in national research centers like Oak Ridge National Labs.


Malhotra was recruited to the Department of Energy after a successful exit of Oorja Protonics—the world leader in methanol fuel cells—which he founded and led as CEO for 10 years. Oorja raised $50 Million in equity financing from leading VCs such as Sequoia, DAG Ventures, Artis Capital and others during his tenure. He boosted Oorja’s revenue and profitability growth, while expanding operations globally in Japan, China, South Africa, Mexico, and India.


Oorja was acquired in 2014 by the Private Equity firm MinXing Growth Fund.


As an investor and consultant, Malhotra has worked at leading venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers as an advisor on clean energy and advanced materials.


Earlier in his career, Malhotra led the engineering and product development team at H Power, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel cells. As part of the management team, he managed the successful IPO, which raised more than $100 million in August 2000.


He began his career as a post-doctoral fellow at the renowned Lawrence Berkeley National Labs on electrochemical storage systems. Dr. Malhotra has authored seven patents and more than 40 publications in various fields of energy storage technology and materials. He holds a PhD in chemical engineering and an M.B.A from University of Iowa.