Tesla acquires Maxwell – but not for its supercapacitor business

May 29, 2019 | Case Study

In May 2019, Tesla completed its acquisition of Maxwell Technologies, a company best known for its supercapacitor business. However, given that supercapacitor developers have long struggled to find suitable applications that are not already dominated by Li-ion batteries, Tesla's core interest is likely in Maxwell's dry battery electrode (DBE) technology, which the company expects will reduce cell manufacturing costs. The process consists of three steps: First, all dry powder materials are mixed using Maxwell's proprietary dry coating process to produce a final powder mixture consisting of active material, binder, and conductive additive. Second, this powder mixture is calendered to form a continuous self-supporting dry-coated electrode film that is wound in roll form. Finally, the film is laminated onto a current collector to yield an electrode that is ready for cell production.