Mon, 05 Jun 2023

STUTTGART, Germany: Beginning in 2025, Mercedes-Benz will incorporate a new, highly energy-dense battery in its G-Class electric vehicles, potentially solving the problem of how to power large electric cars without weighing them down with heavy batteries.

Made by startup Sila Nanotechnologies, the battery is 20 to 40 percent more energy dense than comparable cells currently available and utilizes silicon-based anodes, the company said.

Silicon, 70 percent of which comes from China, is an alternative to the more commonly used graphite in batteries.

In 2020, Tesla said it would also begin using silicon in its batteries.

Mercedes is the first automotive customer of California-based battery startup Sila Nanotechnologies, which is investing in a new plant in Washington state that will open in 2024.

Unlisted Sila, in which Mercedes has a minority equity stake and was founded by an ex-Tesla engineer, is also working with BMW and raised an additional $590 million last year, boosting its valuation to an estimated $3.3 billion.

"Delivering such a high energy density is a true game changer and allows us to think in completely new directions when developing future electric cars," said Mercedes Chief Technology Officer Markus Schaefer.

Among the most expensive cars in the Mercedes range, the G-Class plays a key role in the German manufacturer's strategy of boosting margins to help fund its transition to EV technology.

When released in the late 1970s, the G-Class' boxy design and all-terrain capabilities were intended for use by soldiers and explorers.

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