Building off its 2019 investment in battery materials company Sila, Mercedes-Benz announced a supply agreement to incorporate the former’s silicon anode chemistry into batteries to offer extended range to the upcoming G-Class which includes an electric G-Wagon.
Mercedes-Benz is a household name synonymous with autos, especially as the German automaker proclaims itself as “the inventor of the automobile.” As more and more countries and its drivers shift toward electrified options, Mercedes has followed suit with its EQ line of EVs, delivering the quality and luxury the automaker is celebrated for, but with zero emissions.
This includes the EQS sedan as well as its upcoming SUV version, in addition to a more compact EQE sedan to follow later this year. That’s not all, either. Mercedes-Benz has shared several concepts pushing the limits of EV technology like the VISION EQXX.
Last fall at IAA Mobility on Mercedes’ home turf, the automaker unveiled the G-Class EQG Concept – an all-electric version of its famed G-Wagon. Very few details were unveiled at the time, and most still remain clouded in mystery, as a production version of the electric G-Wagon remains years away.
However, following the latest announcement alongside Sila, we can expect more energy dense EV batteries in the Mercedes G-Series, thanks to some next-generation silicon anode technology.
Sila to power MB EVs like electric G-Wagon by mid-decade
Mercedes-Benz announced the new supply agreement with Sila in a press release today, sharing insight on its plans for the silicon anode technology. The German automaker originally invested in Sila back in 2019 as part of its R&D program to explore advanced battery technologies for future EVs.
Three years later, Mercedes has signed an agreement with Sila and has officially become the battery its first publicly announced automotive customer. Chief technology officer and member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Markus Schäfer spoke to Sila’s progress:
Sila has come a long way since we established our strategic partnership in 2019. They have been proving their ability to not only deliver scientific innovation at the highest level, but also their ability to manufacture high quality material. We’re glad that in Sila we have a leading partner who will help us power our future generation of electric luxury vehicles with their highly innovative anode technology. 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. Our partnership with Sila is another essential step on our way to build the most desirable electric luxury cars.
Mercedes-Benz explains that through the supply agreement, Sila’s silicon anode chemistry will be incorporated into EV batteries as a purchase option on the G-Class EVs, including the electric G-Wagon. Compared to current EV battery chemistry, Sila’s technology allows for a 20-40% increase in energy density at the cell level, reaching upwards of 800 Watt-hours per liter (Wh/l).
Mercedes-Benz believes it can utilize this chemistry to store more energy within the same amount of space, thus delivering better range in future EVs without sacrificing size or interior capacity. Sila co-founder and CEO Gene Berdichevsky spoke as well:
We’re focused on delivering materials that are cost-efficient and capable of delivering on the promise of electric vehicles, working to ensure longer range energy, improved charge times, and lowering battery cost per kWh. To realize the potential of next-generation materials, scale up is a pivotal part of execution and we’ve been building towards automotive quality standards and scale since our start. With our new plant in Washington, we’re ensuring we can meet the requirements of our auto partners like Mercedes-Benz as they transition to a fully electric future.
Sila’s next-generation silicon anodes will be manufactured at its Washington state facility using 100% renewable energy. Both Mercedes and Sila agree on a target of mid-decade to deliver an electric G-Wagon featuring the more energy dense battery option.