Tesla has acquired Colorado-based battery start-up SiILion, according to a new patent for a silicon-based battery anode. Tesla is also planning a new factory in Canada to build battery production facilities.
There were already rumours about the takeover of SilLion last year, but the deal was not confirmed. At that time, Tesla had hired some SilLion employees and also advertised job vacancies in the field of battery research in Colorado, without having a corresponding research facility in the US state.
So the confirmation of the takeover did not come in the form of an announcement, but in a roundabout way: a patent for ‘Large-Format Battery Anodes Comprising Silicon Particles’ has been filed with the European Patent Office. SilLion founders Tyler Evans and Daniela Molina Piper are named as the inventors, but Tesla Inc. is named as the applicant. Unlike several of their employees, Evans and Piper had not previously confirmed their work for Tesla.
However, the media reports did not provide any information on the purchase price.
SilLion’s anode technology is apparently to be incorporated into Tesla’s 4680 cells. According to the patent, these are “large-area anodes with high weight percentages of silicon suitable for use in lithium-ion energy storage devices and batteries, and methods of making them”. At Battery Day, Tesla had indicated that the 4680 cell would have a silicon-dominated anode.
Meanwhile, Tesla is planning a new factory in Canada to build battery production facilities. The information comes both from Tesla itself (jobs have been advertised in Markham, Ontario), but also from the mayor of Markham. According to the politician, Tesla wants to produce “state-of-the-art production technology” in the factory, “which will be used in gigafactories around the world in the production of batteries”.
It is not yet known when production will start and when the first production machines can be expected in the Gigafactories. It is also not clear whether and to what extent Tesla’s own production of battery production equipment will affect its business relationship with Saueressig, a medium-sized German company. According to reports, Tesla has already commissioned Saueressig Engineering to build cell production machines in the USA and Germany in 2020.
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