Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, announced a new investment in Sila Nanotechnologies Inc., a next-generation Li-ion battery startup, in order to deliver “faster charging and longer range” in electric vehicles.
Sila Nano is developing a new silicon-based chemistry for battery cells and they claim that it will result in “higher performance, faster charging and longer range than today’s batteries.”
Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO of Sila Nano, claims that current cells have demonstrated a 20-percent improvement:
“This breakthrough chemistry demonstrates up to 20 percent improvement today, with the potential to reach further improvements over state of the art traditional Li-ion. We’re excited to be working with Daimler to bring better, more energy-dense batteries to their fleet and bring our shared vision for the future of electric vehicles to life for more people,”
Daimler is looking to use the battery cells in Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming new electric vehicles.
Sajjad Khan, Executive Vice President for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric Mobility at Daimler AG, said that their investment is going to accelerate the commercialization of the new battery tech:
“We are on our way to a carbon free future mobility. While our all-new EQC model enters the markets this year we are already preparing the way for the next generation of powerful battery electric vehicles. Lithium-ion technology is currently the most efficient battery technology available, and still shows plenty of potential for the future. The advancements Sila Nano have made in battery performance are very promising. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation, pooling our know-how on further development and fast commercialization,”
There’s no clear timeline for the new batteries to head into production, but the two companies are hyping it up.
Sila Nano says that it “replaces conventional graphite electrodes entirely with its proprietary silicon-dominant composite materials that enable high energy density and high cycle life, which translates to more powerful, longer-range and enduring sources of power for electric vehicles.”
It’s always exciting to hear about big companies like Daimler investing in battery technologies.
But as usual, it’s important to be skeptical when companies announce “battery breakthroughs” because they rarely amount to anything.
There are big differences between demonstration cells and a product that can be mass-produced at a reasonable cost.
In this case, it is interesting that they are only talking about replacing the electrodes with their own materials, which could possibly make the road to production easier.
While we like to follow those new battery technologies, I like to remind everyone that those new technologies are not required to enable electric vehicles to be competitive with petrol cars. Those technologies will come and push EVs forward, but in the meantime, current incremental improvements on li-ion batteries are enough to make EVs highly competitive.
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