Elon Musk’s Tesla Buys Maxwell To Develop Supercapacitors For Electric Cars

Daniel Fowler
February 5, 2019

Outside of the company, Bill Selesky, an analyst with Argus Research, said that Maxwel's proprietary battery technology would will help Tesla give its EVs "greater battery power while taking up less space and lighter weight in the vehicle".

Electric automaker Tesla is planning to purchase energy storage company Maxwell Technologies in an all-stock deal worth about $218 million, the companies said on Monday. That's perhaps unsurprising, since Maxwell's market capitalization, recently around $211 million, represents a tiny fraction of Tesla's, which is above $50 billion.

The technology potentially provides much higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, with the added benefit of quicker recharge times.

Tesla does not invest lightly, as can be seen with its acquisition of Grohmann Automation, which gave it a competitive advantage and a way to maximize automation in the Tesla Model 3 production lines to get the vehicle to scale faster.

In a statement announcing the Maxwell Technologies acquisition, Tesla said it's always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.

Combined with the energy of batteries, ultracapacitors can enable rapid response times, extend operational temperature range and lengthen battery life by up to two times, according to a Maxwell Technologies.

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The company says that Maxwell's dry electrode technology - used to make the ultracapacitors - which can be applied to batteries of varying chemistries, boosts performance and is more cost-effective than the more commonly used wet electrode technology.

Maxwell's customers also include General Motors and Lamborghini. "Real competitors are coming now, so Tesla needs to move fast".

Currently, Japan's Panasonic Corp is the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla cars.

Tesla also sells power storage, often in conjunction with its solar power business, and ultracapacitors could be used in backup systems for homes and for utility power grids.

The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter of the year, pending customary closing conditions.

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