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Tesla buys Maxwell Technologies for its ultracapacitor secrets

By Greg S · 7 replies
Feb 5, 2019
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  1. Tesla has taken ownership energy storage firm Maxwell Technologies as part of an all-stock deal for $218 million. As an expert in ultracapacitors and solid state energy storage, Maxwell may help Tesla develop dry electrode technology.

    Instead of relying upon chemicals for energy storage, ultracapacitors store their energy electrostatically and do not wear out the same way that batteries do. Dry electrodes used in ultracapacitors have relatively long lifespans and can be made from a variety of advanced materials such as carbon nanotubes and carbon aerogels.

    Another advantage of using capacitive storage is the ability to very quickly charge or discharge regardless of ambient temperatures. Tesla already can get their cars quickly off the line, but an even quicker burst of power could push even greater limits. Regenerative braking could also be made even more aggressive if desired through the use of ultracapacitors.

    Tesla may not have any plans of directly using ultracapacitors, but borrowing the construction techniques and applying them to existing batteries could allow for improvements.

    Aside from the technological innovations that Tesla hopes to gain from Maxwell, Elon Musk also has shown a personal interest in ultracapacitors. Back in 2013, he tweeted about considering doctoral research on them at Stanford. Musk may not have followed through on such plans, but he does have a track record of implementing technology that many others would have dismissed as nothing short of ridiculous.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,390   +3,779

    "Tesla is well on its way to better batteries and energy distribution systems for its vehicles"

    That's the part that is a bit scary. If Musk's behavior is anything like recent history, he'll charge an arm and a leg for it with very few, if any, benefits to the customers ......
  3. People don't buy Tesla just because they are electric - they buy them because they are a status symbol and for the technology regardless of the price.

    Compared to the other brands that have current EVs, Tesla is light years ahead, so obviously you're going to pay more.
  4. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    By what measure?
    wiyosaya likes this.
  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,281   +527

    Distance of course
    wiyosaya likes this.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,989   +2,288

    He maybe should have gone to Standford.

    At that price, the former owners made out well, however, this time, Musk might have totally outsmarted himself, IMO.

    These are most likely an assist that is not yet capable of being used as the sole power source for any vehicle.

    Musk will need to put some money into furthering the technology. I bet he doesn't and just uses this as yet another marketing ploy that he can use to continue to appeal to the ignorant rich!
  7. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    Even just adding a bank of ultracapacitors for start/stops could potentially enhance an electric vehicle's battery efficiency.

    Add in an ultracapacitor tap when regeneratively braking (with hard braking going straight to the ultracaps), and then discharge that ultracapacitor bank during initial acceleration after a stop, and you can reduce the high current draw cycle needed to get an EV moving. Not unlike the mechanical flywheel approach that was experimented with to provide braking and acceleration assist to gas vehicles.
  8. Technology like AutoPilot.
    Style/aesthetics/public perception.
    Number of EV models available to choose from.
    Amount of cars shipped compared to other brands.

    Do I need to continue?

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