Watt It Takes: Creating a Battery Unicorn by Learning From Previous Cleantech Busts


This week on Watt It Takes: How a Ukrainian immigrant quietly toiled away on a new battery chemistry and created a cleantech unicorn.

Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Gene Berdichevsky, the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies, to talk about building a battery company by applying lessons learned from other failures.

Sila is developing a new lithium-ion battery chemistry that uses silicon in place of graphite, leading to an improvement in battery density by 20 percent. This spring, Daimler led a $170 million round in Sila, valuing the startup at $1 billion.

Berdichevsky was the seventh employee at Tesla, where he developed the Roadster’s battery. For the last eight years, Berdichevsky’s team at Sila has been working on a drop-in replacement for today’s lithium-ion batteries. What will it take to scale over the next decade?

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