Mercedes-Benz is the first car maker to announce that it will use a new type of silicon-based anode technology in a highly energy-dense battery that will power its forthcoming electric G-Class. The battery powered SUV was previewed with the Concept EQG last year and will closely resemble the appearance of the current G-Class.
The company behind the new battery design is a startup called Sila Nanotechnolgies, which was founded by former Tesla engineer, Gene Berdichevsky. Sila already provides its battery science to the Whoop health and fitness wearables, but it is in the automotive space where the company could make a significant impact. It is already working with BMW, but Mercedes has a minority stake in the company. Sila Nanotechnolgies is currently valued at an estimated $3.3 billion.
According to Sila Nanotechnologies, its electric car battery will use cells comparable to today’s EVs that are 20 to 40 percent more energy dense, reaching more than 800 Wh/l at cell level. The benefit of this would include extending the driving range which could be particularly beneficial in a heavier vehicle such as the G-Class.
Markus Schaefer, Mercedes Chief Technology Officer, said: “Sila has come a long way since we established our strategic partnership in 2019. They have been proving their ability to not only deliver scientific innovation at the highest level, but also their ability to manufacture high quality material.
“We’re glad that in Sila we have a leading partner who will help us power our future generation of electric luxury vehicles with their highly innovative anode technology.Delivering such a high energy density is a true game changer and allows us to think in completely new directions when developing future electric cars.”
The advanced silicon anode material will be produced in Sila’s new facility in Washington state, and use only 100 percent renewable energy.
“We’re focused on delivering materials that are cost-efficient and capable of delivering on the promise of electric vehicles, working to ensure longer range energy, improved charge times, and lowering battery cost per kWh. To realise the potential of next-generation materials, scale up is a pivotal part of execution and we’ve been building towards automotive quality standards and scale since our start. With our new plant in Washington, we’re ensuring we can meet the requirements of our auto partners like Mercedes-Benz as they transition to a fully electric future,” said Gene Berdichevsky, Co-founder and CEO, Sila.