Daimler AG has acquired a minority equity stake in U.S. battery material specialist Sila Nanotechnologies Inc. (Sila Nano) as part of its research and development activities. Founded in 2011, Sila Nano is a leading developer of new battery materials, which outperform existing lithium-ion technologies. With its latest developments the company sets a new standard for battery performance, harnessing the potential of silicon to enable safe, scalable, high-energy density batteries, which can unleash new possibilities in electrification from consumer devices to electric vehicles and beyond. Along with the acquisition of the equity stake Daimler will get a seat in the Board of Directors of Sila Nano. The investment forms part of the latest round of financing, which was led by Daimler.
“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,” says Sajjad Khan, Executive Vice President for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric Mobility, Daimler AG.
The battery is a key component of electric vehicles that is not an off-the-shelf product, but an integral part of the vehicle architecture. The intelligence of the battery lies in a highly complex overall system, which defines the characteristics of the vehicle with respect to performance, range and charging times. As an integral and important element of Daimler’s electrification strategy, competencies for the technological evaluation of materials and cells as well as research and development activities are consistently expanded. These include the continuous optimization of the current generation of Li-Ion battery systems, the further development of cells bought on the world market and research of the next generation battery systems.
Innovative chemistry for next generation of electric vehicles
Improvements to traditional Li-Ion battery chemistry have reached their limits and Sila Nano’s cross-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers have pushed forward the development of the next generation of battery chemistry, harnessing the power of silicon to be safe, robust, and scalable for mass production.
“This breakthrough chemistry demonstrates up to 20% 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,” says Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO of Sila Nano.
The company, headquartered in Alameda, CA, 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. These materials easily drop into existing Li-ion factories, making it possible to deploy efficiently and at scale.