In September, during battery day, Elon Musk promised to reduce lithium-ion battery prices to half of what they currently are. Also, he claimed some of the savings would come from reinventing the old, complicated process of battery production.
It’s insanely complicated, like digging a ditch, filling it in and digging the ditch again. So we looked at the entire value chain and said how can we make this as simple as possible?Elon Musk
The simplest solution seems to be through the patents of a small company out of Canada.
Tesla had purchased several patent applications from Springpower International just two weeks before Battery Day. Springpower International is a small company located just outside Toronto.
According to public records, the cost of the patents were only $3. One of those applications explains an innovative process that is similar to the one that Tesla’s senior vice-president of engineering described at Tesla’s factory in Fremont during Battery Day. Buying the patent means that when the patent itself was granted, it was issued to Tesla.
The manufacturing of cathodes for electric vehicle batteries usually generates vast quantities of contaminated water. Up to 4,000 gallons of water end up with ammonia, metal particles and toxic chemicals in it for every 2000 lbs of cathode material produced.
Springpower’s process, however, cleverly recirculates the chemical solution, completely eliminating the need for expensive water treatment.
We can also use that same process to directly consume the metal powder coming out of recycled electric vehicles and grid storage batteries.Baglino
Now, it seems as though Tesla may have bought more than just Springpower’s IP (Intellectual Property). About a week before Battery Day, Springpower International’s website was replaced by a holding page. Since then, several Springpower researchers have altered their LinkedIn profiles to indicate that they are now Tesla employees .
CEO of Springpower International, Michael Wang’s LinkedIn pagenow shows many updates from Tesla staffers.
Springpower International was started back in March of 2010. Chinese battery firm Highpower International helped start the company. There is a research arm for Springpower located in Shenzen.