Source: Design & Elektronik news
Tesla has taken over Maxwell, a manufacturer of supercapacitors. Taavi Madiberk, founder and CEO of Maxwell’s competitor Skeleton Technologies, sees himself confirmed in his strategy for electromobility, but this takeover is not just winning him over.
From my point of view, Tesla has done exactly the right thing: the acquisition of a manufacturer of ultracapacitors highlights the obvious limitations of Li-ion batteries in terms of fast charging and thermal management, while ultracapacitors provide better thermal management and fast charging within seconds and extremely high efficiency allow a much longer life.
Mr. Musk used to be a big fan of ultracapacitors, but here, too, it needs a breakthrough in terms of energy density. Tesla has a major innovation gap: Maxwell Technologies, the company that acquired Tesla, has an energy density of 7Wh kg, unlike Skeleton Technologies’ curved-graphene ultracapacitors, which now provide approximately 20 Wh/kg.
Tesla/Maxwell currently holds a leading market position in the automotive industry. But if they do not close the innovation gap, they will not be able to stay there long. Mr. Musk studied ultracapacitors during his graduation in Stanford, but he underestimates the “R & D hell” to get ultracapacitors with higher energy density.
We are expanding our manufacturing and R & D capabilities in Germany and have a clear 60 Wh/kg roadmap, maintaining charging times in the seconds range and a cost point lower than for high performance batteries. We do not expect Tesla to close the gap in the near future. In fact, important engineers from Maxwell / Tesla have recently come to Skeleton.
featured image: Taavi Madiberk, founder and CEO of Skeleton Technologies; image credit: Skeleton Technologies