For years, scientists and engineers predicted that lithium-ion batteries would be better if they could just add more silicon. In the lab, the prediction held, but only for a short period of time. The material had a drawback: it became brittle after repeated loading.
Sila seems to think that solved the problem. The startup, together with its strategic partner Mercedes-Benz, has announced that its silicon anode material is expected to appear in an electric G-Class in 2025. This not only suggests that Sila is confident that its technology can meet the automaker’s high demands , but also that it can produce enough material to give the bulk SUV a decent range.
CEO Gene Berdichevsky, who designed the Tesla Roadster battery, founded the company with the goal of replacing graphite anodes with silicon, and it has been working to perfect its silicon anode for more than a decade. This perseverance seems to be paying off.
Today, almost all lithium-ion batteries use graphite because it provides a stable home for lithium ions when charging. But graphite is not very energy dense, especially compared to silicon. To contain a lithium ion, graphite must devote six carbon atoms to this task. A silicon atom, however, can hold four lithium ions.