BMW And Sila Nano Partner On Silicon-Dominant Anode Materials


BMW is going to work on new battery materials for next-generation batteries with California-based Sila Nanotechnologies, founded in 2011.

BMW iVision Dynamics

Sila Nanotechnologies developed a family of silicon-dominant anode materials that replace conventional graphite electrodes to increase cell capacity.

The new anode materials works with the the existing battery manufacturing process, and – as we understand it – just needs to be optimized for the for the automotive market.

BMW is engaged in the in-house battery research and development to accelerate the introduction of batteries that meet plug-in car requirements.

Read Also – BMW Will Spend $237 Million On Battery Cell Competence Center

The ultimate goal is to have more range at an affordable price.

“In order for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries to hit future automotive targets, further advances and developments are necessary. The conventional chemistry (graphite anodes, lithium metal oxide cathodes) which has been thoroughly optimized, is reaching a technological limit. Achieving dramatic performance improvements while ensuring high levels of safety requires moving to a new generation of materials chemistry, one that increases storage efficiency while still working cost-effectively with conventional cell manufacturing processes.

Sila Nano’s team is focused on developing and commercializing the next generation of battery materials. Their first products are a family of silicon-dominant anode materials that replace conventional graphite electrodes. These materials work today and enable high cycle life, ultra-low swelling, and high energy density in next generation battery cells. Sila Nano’s materials drop into the existing battery manufacturing process, and can be manufactured economically at scale.

To accelerate development, the BMW Group has been working throughout its long-term partnership with Sila Nano to develop Sila Nano’s silicon anode material for the automotive market. In this effort, the companies are working together to apply Sila Nano’s breakthrough technology to achieve the performance and industrialization required for high-performance electric cars.”

“Sila Nano is growing rapidly and expanding its teams at the San Francisco Bay Area HQ, at additional manufacturing locations, and in Europe and Asia, to support a wide range of customers and partners in the automotive and consumer markets.”

Gene Berdichevsky, CEO of Sila Nano said:

“At Sila we deliver the next generation of battery materials, which enable improved energy storage, require no change to battery manufacturing, and scale economically with mass production. These innovations will introduce a new performance standard for electric vehicles in the early 2020s.”

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9 Comments on "BMW And Sila Nano Partner On Silicon-Dominant Anode Materials"

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Panasonic added silicon to their anodes back in 2009. That, perhaps, didn’t work out so well, but the Model 3 cells do use 10% silicon.

Is BMW only now starting to use silicon? Did they have to partner with Sila Nano to do it? Is there something special about Sila Nano’s process?

What are you doing, BMW?

Looking up a competitor of them, Enevate, they claim to use 70% silicon. Now I don’t know enough to evaluate that statement, could you shed light on this?

That much silicon may well affect the life span of the cells. If it doesn’t, that could be a real break through. These press blurbs never have enough information in them, but I’d be surprised if 70% silicon worked well.

From article: “BMW is engaged in the in-house battery research and development to accelerate the introduction of batteries that meet plug-in car requirements.”

In the mean time Tesla is producing in volume 3 performance EVs (Model S, Model X, & Model 3) with 200+ miles AER that have access to a convenient & reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips.

I’m ok with bmw, they are actually trying and have quite a few phev’s on the market. Hopefully they are onto something.

70% silicon is definitely a lot better than 10%. Silicon andoes are well known to be up to 10 times better than graphite, but as they collect lithium ions they swell, breaking and distorting to matrix. So a lot of research is gone into trying to make silicon work, usually adding some other material that will absorb the swelling. The trick is to find a material that doesn’t degrade the conductivity or take up so much volume as to negate the benefits of the silicon. If Sila Nano has come up with a material with no negative side effects, then achieving 70% really is a big deal.

Agree in theory, but this communication is missing any useful numbers that could allow us to make up an idea of what they have in hands for real and what are the trade offs. And too much mysteries in this space usually leads to big disappointments, …for many years. Silicon has been a promising anode for decade. 4X volume increase under supercharge and cycling problems have been the gating factor so far. Agree multiple strategies have been found to overcome some of that, by storing the silicon in smaller and smaller nano-size housings so this expansion can be controlled and cycling improved to come extend. Hence why Panasonic and Tesla started to put some in their anodes too. Problem is how far this can be pushed further safely now ? The battery of the future for sure will need to cost less per kWh and take less kg and liters for same kWh capacity, but it will still need to support “Tesla locked in standard” of 8 years unlimited millage warranty, while enabling >100kW Supercharging speeds, and may be 150kW to 350KW hypercharging tomorrow. The more the car battery capacity can be increased due to lower $ and kg and… Read more »

Silicone must be put into the womens t1ts, not batteries.
Devil has come to BMW.

I spent a few more moments on Sila Nano WEB site and could neither find precise NUMBERs there, so even more strange. In their news Section there are interesting links including one quoting that “BMW has also partnered with Solid Power, a spinout from the University of Colorado Boulder, which claims that its solid-state technology relying on lithium-metal anodes can store two to three times more energy than traditional lithium-ion batteries.” , and saying that Sila Nano includes former Tesla Battery team employees. On one side this gives some credibility to this along with MIT links, but why the hell are they hiding any useful numbers ?
Usefull link here :