Dragonfly Energy’s impressive growth curve is poised to continue in 2023 and beyond as the company continues to refine current manufacturing processes and cast an eye toward new product development.

The company founded by Chief Executive Officer Denis Phares in 2012 in a small warehouse off White Fir Street in northwest Reno has exploded over the past decade. Dragonfly Energy went public on its 10-year anniversary last October (Nasdaq: DFLI) and currently operates out of a 100,000-square-foot facility on Trademark Drive in South Meadows. It also has a 15,000-square-foot research and development center in Sparks.

The advent of a new cell manufacturing process, which will be done in-house to control cost and supply, could send Dragonfly Energy soaring to new heights.
“We are in the process of deploying a new manufacturing process that we invented, and we are able to apply this new process to make a type of cell that has a solid-state electrolyte, which makes it non-flammable,” Phares said recently. “That makes it very unique. The new process affords us the ability to make a type of cell that nobody else can make."

“If you go to any battery cell manufacturing facility, you will see gigantic vacuum dryers that are there to reclaim nasty solvents that are necessary for making lithium-ion cells,” Phares added.

“The process we invented eliminates those nasty solvents. It is basically a powder-coating process to make lithium-ion cells, which means we could make a cell manufacturing facility at a fraction of the cost in a much smaller footprint. That’s significant, and it will revolutionize the energy storage business.
In addition to developing a new cell production technology, Dragonfly Energy plans to move cell production in house and add new levels of automation to its manufacturing processes. Currently, the cells that make up the heart of any lithium-ion battery are imported. Dragonfly Energy is expected to deploy a pilot cell manufacturing line later this year, Phares said.

“Our core business of assembling battery packs to replace lead-acid batteries is an enormous market, and we have been growing dramatically over the last several years,” Phares said.

“We focus heavily on automation as a technology company. We have been investing in automation to increase the efficiency of our operations.
Dragonfly Energy also largely avoided the logistical and supply chain nightmares that plagued countless U.S. manufacturers and companies, Phares added. Dragonfly Energy has multiple sources for every component that goes into its batteries, both imported and domestic, he said.

“The diversity of our supply chain made it so that we never suffered in our ability to supply products. We did remarkably well, and our business grew dramatically through COVID.”
Another developing chapter in Dragonfly Energy’s story is its focus on vertical integration – Phares said he moved to Reno from Los Angeles a decade ago in order to bring Dragonfly Energy closer to domestic supplies of lithium.

The company has agreements with two Reno-based lithium suppliers, Aqua Metals and Ioneer.

The deal between Dragonfly Energy and Ioneer was recently hailed by Gov. Joe Lombardo. “This agreement between Dragonfly Energy and Ioneer, and hopefully more like it in the future, are vital to our economy as we work to develop this new industry, secure Nevada’s energy independence and close the lithium loop,” Lombardo said in a statement.

The lithium loop refers to having all facets of the lithium chain - material production, manufacturing and recycling - occurring in the same area.

“We are trying to keep the infrastructure here in Nevada,” Phares said. “There’s an opportunity for Nevada to reap the benefits of this new green economy, which is going to be focused on storage. The accessible lithium is here.
Dragonfly Energy has partnered with Airstream to supply batteries for several of the company’s trailer models.

Airstream, which was founded by Wally Byam in the early 1900s, is known for its iconic aluminum trailers.