Mercedes' G-Class EVs Will Use Silcon Batteries Made in the U.S.

California-based Sila Nanotechnologies landed its first major client. Will its partnership with Mercedes bring its silicon-based batteries to the mainstream?
Written by Andrew Koole
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jun 10, 2022
Mercedes-Benz
has a lot going for it as it transitions toward electric vehicles. The luxury auto brand already has an audience willing to pay premium prices, as well as the secured supplies of components that are used in both gas and electric vehicles like microchips.
But to stand out in the increasingly crowded EV space, the German legacy brand needs a top-performing powertrain that will make Tesla owners think twice before sticking to the Texas-based brand. That’s where
Sila Nanotechnologies
comes in. 
Based in California, Sila swaps the graphite anodes sourced from China for silicon, creating an energy-dense battery Mercedes plans to use in its upcoming electric G-Class.
Jerry
the car ownership
super app
took a closer look at the partnership and what it could mean for the EV battery startup.

Silicon will help Mercedes set itself apart

The race is on for established automakers to shift their powertrains to more sustainable designs. Tesla’s decade-long headstart has many in the industry wondering how to grasp the attention of the growing number of EV buyers. 
Mercedes has tackled the challenge at a few angles, producing a
solar-powered concept car
, testing new technologies like
mind control
, and extending battery range past the 620-mile marker. But the new partnership with Sila will help it stand out in a number of ways.
First,
Reuters
says Sila’s high-density anodes will help Mercedes drop the weight of G-Series SUV, an issue all EV makers have to deal with. It will also help the automaker escape the grasp China has on the EV supply chain because of its monopoly on graphite.

Sila’s German customers will help propel the EV battery brand’s future

So far, Mercedes is the only paying customer for Sila, but that hasn’t stopped the company from raising capital and expanding into
Washington State
. The EV battery startup plans to build a new production plant in Moses Lake, WA that will build 100,000 a year when fully operational.
And while Mercedes-Benz G-Series SUV might be the first vehicle with one of Sila’s silicon-based batteries, it likely won’t be the last. Mercedes’ competitor, BMW, has also invested in the company. 
The idea of swapping graphite out for silicon isn’t a particularly new one in the industry. Tesla CEO
Elon Musk
started throwing the idea around for his company in 2020, though the EV leader continues to rely on graphite for now. Whether it will catch on remains to be seen.

Could silicon anodes make EVs cheaper?

The financial effect of the shift from graphite to silicon isn’t clear yet. New technologies in the auto industry tend to be introduced at the top, no matter the effect on production costs, and Sila’s innovations seem to be following the customary pattern.
The first vehicle adopting the new battery chemistry, the Mercedes-Benz G-Series, is anything but affordable. This year’s model starts at $134,300.
Car and Driver
says the 2024 EQG that will replace it is expected to cost $15,000 more.
Add the cost of a charger and car insurance, and you’re looking at an electric SUV priced for the super-rich. But Jerry can help bring those ownership expenses down. 
A licensed broker that offers end-to-end support, the
Jerry
app gathers affordable quotes, helps you switch plans, and can even help you cancel your old policy.
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