Daimler Teams Up with Sila Nanotechnologies on Next Generation Lithium-ion Battery Materials
17 April 2019
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," said 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 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," said Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO of Sila Nano.
The company, headquartered in Alameda, California, 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.
Mercedes-Benz Cars electric offensive
Mercedes-Benz Cars is quickly picking up the pace with regard to the electrification of the automobile. By 2022, the entire Mercedes-Benz Cars product range is set to be electrified. This means that different electrified alternatives will be available in every segment - from the 48-volt electrical system (EQ Boost), plug-in hybrids (EQ Power) and more than ten all-electric vehicles (EQ) powered by batteries or fuel cells. Daimler expects electric models to already make up between 15 and 25 percent of Mercedes-Benz Cars total sales by 2025 – depending on the framework conditions such as the development of the infrastructure, the individual customer preferences and the further development of the particular market-specific legal situation.
Mercedes-Benz Cars is investing around €10 billion in the expansion of its product portfolio comprised under the EQ brand. Furthermore, Daimler is investing more than one billion euros in a global battery production network within the worldwide production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The company purchases the cells on the world market and is instructing the suppliers to produce based on special specifications. In this way, the company is securing itself the best possible technology. With the purchase of battery cells for more than 20 billion euros, the company is establishing the preconditions for the consistent change towards an electrical future. The global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars will in the future consist of nine factories on three continents.
Daimler at a glance
Daimler AG is one of the world's most successful automotive companies. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services divisions, the Group is one of the leading global suppliers of premium cars and is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles over six tons. Daimler Financial Services offers financing, leasing, fleet management, investments, credit card and insurance brokerage as well as innovative mobility services. The company founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history by inventing the automobile in 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler sees shaping the future of mobility in a safe and sustainable way as both a motivation and obligation. The company's focus therefore remains on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior vehicles that both captivate and inspire. Daimler continues to invest systematically in the development of efficient powertrains – from high-tech combustion engines and hybrid vehicles to all-electric powertrains with battery or fuel cell – with the goal of making locally emission-free driving possible in the long term. The company's efforts are also focused on the intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. Daimler regards it as its aspiration and obligation to live up to its responsibility to society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly every country of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the world's most valuable premium automotive brand (source: Interbrand study, 4 Oct. 2018), and Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, its brand portfolio includes smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses as well as the brands of Daimler Financial Services: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Daimler Truck Financial. The company is listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges (ticker symbol DAI). In 2018, the Group had a workforce of around 298,700 and sold 3.4 million vehicles. Group revenues amounted to €167.4 billion and Group EBIT to €11.1 billion.
CASE – these letters will shape the future of mobility. They stand for the fields of networking (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric powertrains (Electric). The four CASE fields are an integral part of the corporate strategy of Daimler AG. The aim is to shape intuitive mobility for our customers through intelligent dovetailing of the CASE topics.
Mercedes-Benz Cars already plays a leading role in all four areas today. For example, all activities in the area of connectivity are focused on the digital brand Mercedes me, which gives customers access to an extensive and personalised range of services by app, website or straight from their car.
On the way to autonomous driving, Mercedes-Benz has for years been a key driver of development and has repeatedly set the benchmark. To this end, the Mercedes engineers use what is known as sensor fusion. The data from different sensors, such as cameras, ultrasound and radar, are intelligently combined and analysed. With smart vision EQ fortwo, the smart brand is also demonstrating what driving without a steering wheel could look like in the future of carsharing.
The inventor of the automobile already has a leading role in the Sharing & Services sector now: The mobility joint ventures of Daimler AG and BMW Group are used by over 60 million people, and range from free-floating carsharing (SHARE NOW), ride-hailing (FREE NOW), parking services (PARK NOW) and charging (CHARGE NOW) right up to mobility platforms (REACH NOW).
Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a holistic approach to powertrain electrification. Apart from the EQ brand with a family of vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also developing a holistic ecosystem, which, alongside the vehicle itself, also comprises a comprehensive electric mobility offering. This ranges from intelligent services to energy storage, and charging technologies, to sustainable recycling. On the road to emission-free driving, Daimler is systematically pursuing a three-pronged powertrain strategy to be able to realise maximum environmental compatibility across all vehicle classes (incl. commercial vehicles, vans) – with an intelligent mix of state-of-the-art internal combustion engines and partial electrification through 48-volt technology, tailor-made EQ Power plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with battery or fuel cell powertrains.
By focusing on CASE, Daimler is preparing for the intuitive mobility of the future.
More at: http://www.daimler.com/CASE/en
About Sila Nanotechnologies
Sila Nano develops materials that set a new standard for batteries. Through new battery materials chemistry Sila Nano enables lighter, safer, higher energy density batteries for mass adoption of electric vehicles; smarter, longer-lasting portable electronics; as well as broader use of renewable power sources. Founded in 2011 by Silicon Valley battery engineers and a Georgia Tech Professor of Materials Science, Sila Nano is headquartered in Alameda, California. Company investors include 8VC, Amperex Technology Limited, Bessemer Venture Partners, Chengwei Capital, Daimler, In-Q-Tel, Matrix Partners, Siemens' Next47, Samsung, and Sutter Hill Ventures. For more information, visit www.silanano.com.