This article provides an interesting take on Tesla's acquisition of Maxwell Technologies, an ultracapacitor and energy storage materials company. Whilst ultracapacitors can be used in conjunction with lithium-ion batteries in vehicles for short duration, high power requirements, it seems Tesla's main interest is in Maxwell's electrode technology. This dry electrode technology can increase the energy density of lithium-ion cells and improve discharge rate capabilities. This could prove a significant step in further increasing the range of EVs leading to increased global adoption. Certainly an interesting acquisition to keep an eye on.
But Maxwell’s allure might not be its ultracapacitors — it might be the dry electrode technology developed by Maxwell that really intrigues Elon Musk. The “dry” in “dry electrode technology” refers to an ultracapacitor manufacturing process that Maxwell claims can improve battery costs, performance and lifetime across a variety of lithium-ion battery chemistries. Maxwell states, in a release, that its dry electrode manufacturing technology, historically used to make ultracapacitors, is “a breakthrough technology that can be applied to the manufacturing of batteries.”