Daimler invests in a Tesla’s first employees

Daimler has paid $100 million for a 10 per cent stake in Sila Nanotechnologies, a Californian battery materials start-up founded by one of Tesla’s first employees… The investment… is part of the German group’s push into the electric car market, which is likely to become the main battleground in the next few years as producers step up manufacturing of battery powered vehicles. Daimler’s investment is part of a $170 million funding round that values Sila Nano at more than $1 billion, making it one of the first so-called tech unicorns devoted to improved battery chemistry. Sila Nano has agreements to supply its “next-generation” battery chemistry to both BMW and Daimler, the biggest makers of premium vehicles. These batteries will extend the range and cut the costs of electric cars. BMW and Daimler each sell more than 2 million cars a year and both hope for a quarter of their sales to be electric cars by 2025… Sila Nano, based in Alameda, was founded in 2011 and is led by Gene Berdichevsky, chief executive, an engineer known as “employee number seven” at Tesla… Sila Nano replaces the graphite in a battery’s anode with its own silicon-based material. It claims this already improves density by 20 per cent and that further improvements are likely, which will cut costs and improve power.
Patrick McGee