Tesla buys SiILion, Inc for silicon battery anode patent

Tesla is hoovering up battery patents for fun. Their mission: to manufacture the best batteries in the world through new, innovative technologies.

The company has made numerous acquisitions over the years, the most prominent of which was Maxwell Technologies, an ultracapacitor and dry cell technology company. Tesla sold that company earlier this year after stripping the dry cell patents for itself.

This week, they have bought another company – SilLion, Inc – as part of a new patent for a silicon-based battery anode. SilLion was working on a high energy density battery chemistry based on a silicon anode and nickel cathode.

The patent is described in the abstract in the patent:

Large-scale anodes containing high weight percentages of silicon suitable for use in lithium-ion energy storage devices and batteries, and methods of manufacturing the same, are described. The anode material described herein can include a film cast on a current collector substrate, with the film including a plurality of active material particles and a conductive polymer membrane coated over the active material particles. In some embodiments, the conductive polymer membrane comprises polyacrylonitrile (PAN). The method of manufacturing the anode material can include preparation of a slurry including the active material particles and the conductive polymer material, casting the slurry on a current collector substrate, and subjecting the composite material to drying and heat treatments.”

What does this mean for Tesla EVs? Nothing much, truth be told. Tesla owns hundreds of patents because, at their core, they are a research company. Investing in new and promising technologies is part of their business model.

While it’s unlikely we will see silicon batteries anytime soon, Tesla is working on higher capacity batteries that charge faster. Graphene is a leading contender, but their research is kept under lock and key.

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!