Tesla has snapped up an vital battery patent for simply $3, however it’s seemingly a part of a startup acquisition up in Canada.
Throughout Tesla’s Battery Day final yr, the automaker unveiled a number of new enhancements in battery know-how to ship cheaper, cleaner battery cells with larger vitality density and longevity.
One of many issues Tesla needed to unravel is water utilization in creating battery cathode and the price related to the method.
Tesla’s head of engineering, Drew Baglino, described the issue:
“Successfully, in the event you begin on the left and you’ve got the metallic from the mine, the very first thing that occurs is the metallic from the mine is modified into an intermediate factor known as a metallic sulfate, as a result of that simply occurs to be what chemists needed a very long time in the past. After which whenever you’re making the cathode you must take this intermediate factor known as the metallic sulfate destiny, add chemical substances, add an entire bunch of water, an entire bunch of stuff occurs within the center, and on the finish you get that little little bit of cathode and an entire bunch of wastewater and byproducts.”
Right here’s the slide he’s referencing when speaking about “on the left”:
Baglino says that Tesla, as a substitute, has a option to recirculate the water:
“As you may see, an entire lot much less is happening right here. We eliminate the intermediate, metallic, water, remaining product cathode, recirculate the water, no wastewater in any respect. And whenever you summarize all of that it’s a 66% discount in CapEx funding, a 76 discount in course of prices and 0 wastewater. Far more scalable resolution.”
Right here’s the slide of the Tesla cathode course of from the Battery Day presentation:
Now, we realized that Tesla might need really acquired this know-how from a Canadian startup.
Mark Harris uncovered a document that confirmed Tesla acquired a patent for know-how similar to what Tesla described above from an organization known as Springpower Worldwide primarily based in Ontario Canada.
The doc confirmed that Tesla took over the patent for simply $3, however a extra believable clarification can be that Tesla acquired the Canadian firm.
Springpower took down its web site and doesn’t seem to have any public dealing with presence anymore.
Neither Tesla nor Springpower commented on the attainable transaction, however Electrek has discovered two former Springpower staff who are actually itemizing positions at Tesla on their LinkedIn.
Amrit Bhogan was a chemical technologist at Springpower, and now he’s itemizing his positing as a Cell Engineering Technician at Tesla.
Yang Liu was a chemical researcher at Springpower, and like Bhogan, he left for Tesla in September 2020, which additionally occurs to be when Tesla held its Battery Day presentation, and he’s now a Senior Analysis Engineer on the automaker.
Whereas it’s not totally confirmed, it appears very possible that Tesla acquired this firm.
It wouldn’t be the primary time that Tesla quietly acquired a Canadian firm.
Tesla previously acquired Hibar, which makes battery manufacturing machines, and the corporate additionally invested in Jeff Dahn’s battery lab in Canada to finance his battery analysis.
The excellent news is that Springpower apparently already had pilot manufacturing of its cathode know-how, which doubtlessly helped Tesla’s timeline to carry the 4680 battery cell to manufacturing.
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