Today, Mercedes-Benz revealed that the 2025 extended-range version of the electric G-Class will use Sila’s energy-dense silicon anode. According to Sila, their silicon anode material may increase energy density by 20% to 40% over current cells, allowing battery packs that take up the same amount of space to go further. The blocky, powerful G-Wagen from Mercedes will benefit from the added density.
In a $219 million Series E round in 2019, Mercedes made its initial investment in Sila. The business said earlier this month that it has acquired a 600,000-square-foot plant in Moses Lake, Washington. Just in time for the G-Class, the factory is anticipated to begin producing battery components in late 2024 and complete full production in early 2025. Depending on how manufacturers wish to incorporate silicon anode material into their cells, it should produce enough silicon anode material for 100,000 to 500,000 EVs.
The Whoop 4.0 fitness tracker, a little gadget with a battery that is a minuscule portion of what is required for an EV, uses Sila’s technology today. Sila will be able to refine its production process on a lesser scale, ironing out any problems before scaling up 100 times to produce the numbers required by automakers. The company’s Washington facility’s first phase will produce 10 GWh of battery materials annually, but the second phase will increase output to 150 GWh, CEO Gene Berdichevsky told TechCrunch earlier this month.
It won’t be inexpensive to get there. To put the second phase of the facility into production, according to Berdichevsky’s estimate, will cost a further $1 billion to $2 billion. According to PitchBook, the business has received $933 million in total, including a $590 million round that completed in January 2021. Even if raising a few billion dollars is never simple, Sila might gain from the following: A total of $43 billion has been invested in battery startups by VCs and private equity firms over the past five years alone, as automakers have increased their investments in EVs.
According to a research by PitchBook and TechCrunch, VC firms and growth equity funds have invested roughly $42 billion in battery technology businesses over the course of almost 1,700 acquisitions over the past ten years. Furthermore, the previous two years alone saw roughly 75% of the investments during that time.
In the battery industry, venture capital firms are not rare. Five years ago, they consistently completed 50 to 60 agreements a quarter, totaling a few hundred million dollars. That began to change at the end of 2020; during the previous two years, numerous quarters have witnessed investments totaling more than $2 billion, and a few have exceeded $3 billion. Additionally, the quantity of transactions increased, almost tripling in 2021.