One small new battery, one giant leap for our energy future

By Gene Berdichevsky

The market launch of Sila’s next-gen silicon anode battery technology is a critical stepping stone to the advanced electrification of everything—from mobile, to electric vehicles, and the power grid. And Sila has the vision, persistence, and the chemistry to get us there.

Today was a huge day for our company and a tremendous day for the world of battery science. With our partner WHOOP, we launched the world’s first product powered with Sila science. The WHOOP 4.0 is an elegant, well-crafted wearable technology with advanced features to unlock human performance. Further, with this partnership and successful market launch, we unlocked more—a new era in energy storage.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it seems outlandish to say that this very cool, yet small fitness wearable is a significant milestone in the critical transition to battery storage and the electrification of cars, homes, and flight. But let’s look deeper, down to the molecular level where we’ve solved one of the biggest technical challenges in batteries with our next-gen silicon-anode material, enabling higher energy density without compromising other performance metrics. We also created a production process and scaled it, industrializing our breakthrough science. Our transformative silicon anode material and its ability to scale is what makes this day so momentous. It’s real, it’s in the market, and we’re scaling production to meet demand.

It wasn’t easy. Getting breakthrough science from the lab into real products is a nearly impossible task. It took us 10 years to get to this point. Our team has completed and tested 55,000 iterations of our technology in order to crack the science. That’s why successfully introducing our conversion type lithium-ion chemistry in a mass market product today marks only the fifth fundamentally new rechargeable battery chemistry to make it from lab to commercial use. The last battery chemistry to do so was the intercalation type lithium-ion back in 1991, flavors of which power everything around us! Our team has successfully scaled our manufacturing over 1,000x to get to the point where our material can help transform consumer electronics. Another scale increase of over 100x will create enough material to power mass market electric vehicles, eventually ramping to battery storage for the grid and more.

Another thing I’ve learned over 10 years – delivering scale is no easy feat, nor is it fast. Anyone who says otherwise is either naively optimistic or gravely mistaken. You can’t fake it ‘till you make it with chemistry. Maintaining product integrity as you scale science takes years and a lot of persistence. Increasing energy density without compromising other performance metrics or the ability to scale is like walking a tightrope between two highrises. But what we have to gain as a society and as a planet is well worth the work and the wait. Here’s our simple 4 step plan.

1 – Wearables and small devices

We start small. The amazing WHOOP 4.0 is the milestone solidifying this stage. Our existing plant has started to produce materials necessary for powering millions of batteries in devices like wearables, earbuds, and headsets.

2 – Mobile electronics and premium electric vehicles

We deploy broadly. Using our learnings, revenue, and investment we’ll build a plant that will produce material for hundreds of millions of batteries for mobile phones, tablets, and other everyday electronics. This same plant will deliver materials that power the first tens of thousands of electric cars from our partners.

3 – Mass market electric vehicles

We scale massively. With additional learnings and revenue we’ll build more plants, with production for millions of batteries for electric vehicles including cars, trucks, and public transportation.

4 – Grid and renewable energy

We finish the job. Finally, we’ll use a global footprint of automotive production to deploy our technology on the grid, enabling more cost effective storage that makes intermittent renewables firmly reliable.

All the while we’ll use our revenue to fund further R&D, pushing the performance curve of battery technology and driving down the cost as we lay out in our white paper.

This is an ambitious plan. We’re an ambitious company. But we’re also practical. We’ve put in a decade of work to get here. And while some milestones are close on the horizon—like scale for mobile and premium electric vehicles—we expect that it will take another decade or more to achieve our full vision. We’ve also assembled an amazing team to do this, with leaders from academia and industry. Our scientists and engineers hail from diverse fields including oil and gas, chemicals, solar, and semiconductors. Our people strive for excellence, and are curious, passionate, compassionate, and full of purpose to build a more sustainable future. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this team.

With our first product launch, we at Sila celebrate the rare accomplishment of delivering breakthrough science from the lab to the mass market. But our work doesn’t stop here. We want to be the company to accelerate a new energy future. It’s a hell of a challenge. And one we live to solve.

Today, our materials helped transform a wearable. Tomorrow, it will transform our energy future.

Gene Berdichevsky
Co-Founder and CEO

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