Three months ago we reported Tesla’s intention to acquired ultracapacitor and battery component manufacturer Maxwell. Today the electric car maker has announced the deal is signed sealed and delivered.
In a press release Tesla stated: “Tesla Inc today announced the successful completion of its previously announced offer to exchange all outstanding shares of common stock of Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (“Maxwell”) for 0.0193 of a share of Tesla common stock, together with cash in lieu of any fractional shares of Tesla common stock, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes.”
The deal opens doors to new tech
The deal ushers in a new era for Tesla and for the electric power industry more broadly. Tesla is determined to evolve battery technology, prior to its $235 million takeover of Maxwell the California based company had been developing dry electrode technologies that could be utilized to create ultracapacitors.
Ultracapacitors can store large amounts of electrical charge without losing energy, but they have not yet been developed to a point where they can be used commercially. Most of the EV industry has not embraced supercapacitors.
Tesla determined to reinvent batteries
If Tesla can push the technology along, it may be another opportunity for them to put a huge distance between them and their competitors. Supercapacitors have the potential to be safer and more reliable than conventional options.
According to Extreme Tech, Maxwell has previously boasted that its dry electrode technology has demonstrated an energy density of 300 Wh/kg, and that it had “identified” a path to path to 500 Wh/kg. A Tesla Model 3 battery pack has an energy density of 272 Wh/liter, with the 2170 cells producing 207 Wh/kg.
Tesla has proven itself to be a savvy selector of partners in the past. The acquisition of Maxwell is the firth forth still-fledgling company.
In the past Tesla has acquired Riviera Tool LLC, a manufacturer of stamping die systems used to form sheet metal parts; SolarCity, a provider of solar energy services to homeowners, businesses, government, and non-profit organizations in; Grohmann Engineering, a firm that makes Tesla’s robots for production, and Perbix, a maker of highly automated manufacturing equipment in November 2017.
Autopilot system under fire
News of the deal being finalized comes out as new details are revealed about the latest fatal Tesla crash. On March 1, a 50-year old Tesla driver was killed after he slammed into a semi-trailer while the car was in AutoPilot mode.
An initial report into the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t indicated who is to blame but has released information that shows the driver's hands were not on the wheel of the car in the 8 seconds prior to the crash. The investigation is ongoing.
CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has said that the company's’ full self-driving technology will be ready by the end of the year. But a series of fatal crashes that have occurred while the ‘Autopilot’ feature is enabled may influence public opinion about the system’s safety.