Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Tesla plans to buy Maxwell Technologies for $218 million

Tesla plans to buy Maxwell Technologies for $218 million

"We are very excited with today's announcement that Tesla has agreed to acquire Maxwell". Maxwell is a well-reputed ultracapacitor manufacturer.

"We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy", a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch. Tesla is a well-respected and world-class innovator that shares a common goal of building a more sustainable future.

Tesla paid top-dollar for the all-stock deal.

Tesla's offer values individual Maxwell shares at $4.75, meaning the firm is buying the battery company at a 55 per cent premium to last week's closing price of $3.07.

Maxwell has about 380 employees based in San Diego.

While there is a single problem with super- and ultra-capacitors - the sheer volume and the fact that a module of ultracaps will hold much less energy than a module of batteries of the same size - the best guess is that Tesla won't be replacing all their batteries with caps in the short-term.

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Musk has always had a deep interest in that particular 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.

This technology, says the company, is used to make ultra-capacitors "to create a breakthrough technology that can be applied to the manufacturing of batteries". Was going to do my PhD at Stanford on them.

The majority of the mainstream EV industry has never taken up the idea. In a paper published past year, Maxwell researchers Joon Shin and Hieu Duong said the company had developed "dry" battery electrodes that allowed for "unparalleled energy density and enhanced cycle life" compared to more traditional designs.

Tesla also sells power storage, often in conjunction with its solar power business, and ultracapacitors could be used in backup systems for homes and for utility power grids.

Maxwell executives told investors in January that it had developed and patented a "dry electrode" technology that could significantly increase the driving range and reduce the cost of electric vehicle batteries.

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