Tesla’s SilLion acquisition and Roadrunner batteries will make EVs inevitable

(Photo: Andres GE)

Tesla’s Project Roadrunner is expected to usher in a new generation of batteries that would widen the gap between the electric car maker and its rivals in the EV industry. To accomplish this goal, Tesla has been acquiring companies whose technologies would allow it to develop and produce the best batteries on the market, bar none. One of these companies, SilLion, could very well have developed innovations that would make Teslas, and in turn, EVs, inevitable.

Just last month, Elon Musk stated on Twitter that what really matters in batteries is the cathode and anode material. Musk added that while there are numerous choices available, nickel cathodes and carbon silicon anodes really work great. This is right in line with SilLion’s work. Back in 2017, the company outlined the results of its work on batteries, which, interestingly, is focused on high-loading silicon anodes and nickel-rich cathodes.

According to SilLion, it has manufactured early 2.5 Ah prototypes of its battery cells that are capable of achieving greater than 300 Wh/kg, a prerequisite step to ensure that the company’s tech could be inserted into the markets. What’s more, SilLion’s cell technology, through the utilization of lower cost materials and manufacturing capabilities, is poised to be 30% less expensive than state of the art and industry leading lithium ion batteries at the time.

The reasons behind the acquisition of SilLion have not been disclosed by Tesla, though it is not difficult to speculate that the firm’s battery breakthroughs could be a key factor that attracted the electric car maker. Tesla’s endgame, after all, is developing vehicles and energy storage products with high energy batteries that are also cost effective to produce. If Tesla could accomplish this, it could reach and exceed price parity with gas powered vehicles, and perhaps even more. With such a breakthrough, Tesla could all but ensure that EVs will become inevitable in the auto market.

As noted by Tesla owner enthusiast Sean Mitchell in a recent video, SilLion’s tech, if integrated with the work of other companies like Maxwell that the electric car maker has acquired over the years, could make Elon Musk’s statements about “mind blowing” innovations on Battery Day accurate. Of course, mass manufacturing these next generation cells is a completely different story. Fortunately, such a challenge seems to be addressed by Project Roadrunner, at least up to a point.

Considering the potential output of Project Roadrunner, Tesla’s next generation cells would likely be a perfect match for the upcoming Plaid Model S and Model X. Both vehicles have been announced by Elon Musk last year, and both are expected to be equipped with the best battery and powertrain tech that Tesla has to offer. The Model S and Model X are relatively low volume vehicles compared to the Model 3 and Model Y, after all, which should allow the Roadrunner line to produce enough batteries for the flagship EVs.

Watch Sean Mitchell’s recent feature on Tesla’s SilLion acquisition in the video below.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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