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Electric vehicles (EVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are slowly becoming the norm in the auto industry. In fact, we recently reported how every major automaker or and every automotive group has an EV plan in place, with goals set for 2020. Automakers are also arguing over the best kind of EV battery pack or type of battery to use for performance and safety. Mercedes-Benz decided to bypass the old school EV battery choices and decided to design its own. In a partnership with Sila, a next-generation battery materials company, to add new EV batteries to upcoming electric Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Through the partnership, Mercedes-Benz will be incorporate Sila's silicon anode chemistry in its batteries. Not commonly used in EV battery production, this is a bit of a breakthrough. Most automakers with EVs use lithium-ion batteries, with Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide (NMC) being the most popular, and Tesla using Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) batteries. There are some differences with high-silicon anode material in EV battery production that can benefit Mercedes-Benz. One claim is that these silicon batteries will be able to increase the energy density of batteries without sacrificing performance or compromising safety measures. Overheating is one of the big problems automakers need to tackle when choosing an EV battery to implement, but Sila's technology claims a 20-40-percent increase in energy density. For those that want the science, that’s more than 800 Wh/l at cell level.
Moreover, the partnership plans to keep this clean. The advanced silicon anode materials will be manufactured using 100-percent renewable energy in Sila's new Washington state facility. For now, the new batteries will be an available powertrain option for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The goal is to ange-extended-version of the electric G-Class to be equipped with the new battery technology by mid-decade, or 2025. All of this is paying off from when Mercedes-Benz invested in Sila way back in 2019 as part of the company's research and development into advanced EV batteries. Like so many other automakers, Mercedes-Benz has an ambition to become the leading manufacturer of EVs in the coming years.
"Sila has come a long way since we established our strategic partnership in 2019. They have been proving their ability to not only deliver scientific innovation at the highest level, but also their ability to manufacture high quality material. We're glad that in Sila we have a leading partner who will help us power our future generation of electric luxury vehicles with their highly innovative anode technology. Delivering such a high energy density is a true game changer and allows us to think in completely new directions when developing future electric cars. Our partnership with Sila is another essential step on our way to build the most desirable electric luxury cars," - Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Development and Procurement
A whole new kind of EV battery may just be what Mercedes-Benz needs to give it that edge over the auto market. Could a silicon-based EV battery replace lithium-ion? It really depends on how well this new battery performs and if it does in fact offer more power without overheating. That’s going to be the real test. You can follow along with us on NowCar social media to keep up to date with all EV technology and more.