Tesla Buys Canadian Startup’s Patents To Build Cheaper Batteries
Tesla’s $3 purchase of patent applications from Canadian battery startup Springpower International will help push Tesla’s car closer to a price of $25,000.
Tesla purchased these patent applications just two days before Battery Day, during which it announced that the company is actively working on reducing the expense of creating lithium-ion batteries. Elon Musk and senior vice-president of engineering Drew Baglino explained the details around the new technology for producing batteries. If successful, the adoption of this technology could drive Tesla’s electric vehicle price closer to the $25,000 price range, effectively turning Tesla cars into an affordable and much more sustainable option.
Since the purchase of the patent applications, several Springpower researchers have updated their LinkedIn profiles to say that they are now working at Tesla. Since Tesla has been recruiting promising battery-focused startups for some time now, this could indicate that Springpower became yet another such acquisition.
In 2015, Tesla signed a five-year exclusive partnership with a leading battery researcher Jeff Dahn and renewed the contract for another five years this January. The company purchased another Canadian battery company, Hibar, in 2019.
This years-long endeavor is all about bringing battery production in-house to eliminate the reliance on current battery suppliers, such as Panasonic. Still, Musk warned not to expect results too soon, as it will take Tesla anywhere from a year to 18 months to turn these advantages into reality.
This announcement pushed a deadline Musk set in August 2018, when he estimated that the company would reach the desired price point in three years. Still, Tesla seems to be battling on one-too-many fronts, and that it should, just like any other company, adopt a better task management system on a much larger scale.
Namely, as Tesla pushes on the battery front, it struggles to open its gigafactory in Europe, located near Berlin. The gigafactory is meant to be the European version of its gigafactory in Texas. However, as even the Texas one still hunts for workers, with job posts regularly published on job posting sites, it might be a while before Musk cuts Berlin factory’s red tape.
It is yet to be seen whether Tesla can meet the new deadline for its vehicles becoming affordable and what role the Springpower team will play in accomplishing it.