Why Tesla bought Maxwell Technologies?
Founded in 1965 as a government contractor
Making ultracapacitors since early 2000s
“In the last few years Maxwell has also been working on a new product, Dry Battery Electrode technology for lithium ion batteries.”
Q4 2017 earnings release stated:
“Successfully completed the dry battery electrode "proof of concept" technology program, achieving an energy density milestone of approximately 300 Wh/kg, as compared to an average of 250 Wh/kg for current batteries in the market.”
Q1 2018 earnings release stated:
“We have developed and transformed our patented, proprietary and fundamental dry electrode manufacturing technology that we have historically used to make ultracapacitors to create a breakthrough technology that can be applied to the manufacturing of batteries.”
Q2 2018 earnings:
“End demand in the markets we serve is growing, we continue to make excellent progress with our dry battery electrode technology development and strategic partnership discussions, and our overall strategy is playing out as intended…”
“We anticipate the need for a minimum of $15 million in incremental capital to bridge the company to a recovery to prior revenue levels. We are evaluating our financial alternatives, including the amount we may seek to raise, in order to ensure continuity of investment in future growth programs such as dry battery electrode and energy storage.”
Q3 2018 earnings:
“Additionally, testing of our dry battery electrode technology is progressing to plan and we are making headway with potential partners, which should change the long-term dynamics of our business.“
“…the Company is actively exploring non-dilutive funding opportunities that will provide the necessary resources to fund its working capital requirements and fuel investments in research & development, primarily in its dry battery electrode technology solutions, which Maxwell believes holds the greatest long-term potential.”"
January 16, 2019:
21st Annual Needham Growth Conference
This energy density improvement is a 15%-50% increase on Tesla’s current batteries. This would equate to a batter range of 385-502 mi (620-808 km).
Is is possible that the doing away of the 75 kWh battery frees up resources to make production line changes needed for a new battery architecture.
There is one other potential reason for the Maxwell acquisition.
If I were to make a prediction, I’d think there’s a good chance that it is not batteries. But capacitors,” said Musk at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco back in 2011.
Elon’s interest in ultracapacitors takes further shape in comments on the topic in a Khan Academy interview in 2013.
What are ultracapacitors?
Electrostatic energy storage versus electrochemical energy that lithium ion batteries have
What are their benefits?
High power density to store and deliver quickly but low energy density
Long charge and discharge cycles
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