Tesla has acquired potentially game-changing battery patents from a small Canadian battery startup for just $3, in what feels like a wildly good deal.
Back in September 2020 at Tesla’s Battery Day, Elon Musk promised to halve the company’s lithium-ion battery prices, with some of the savings coming as a result of essentially reinventing the wheel (or, in this case, the battery-making process entirely).
“It’s insanely complicated, like digging a ditch, filling it in and digging the ditch again,” he promised at the event. “So we looked at the entire value chain and said how can we make this as simple as possible?”
And now, thanks to some public records found by Tech Crunch, we have an idea on how exactly he plans to do that.
According to the public records, Tesla acquired a patent from Canadian battery start-up Springpower International Inc on September 3, 2020 — just two weeks before Tesla’s Battery Day.
As outlined in the document, the exchange cost Tesla a whopping $US3 ($3.89), which is a staggeringly small price to pay considering the impact it will likely have on the company moving forward.
Just weeks after acquiring the patent, Musk told investors at Battery Day that the move towards cheaper batteries (presumably using the Springpower tech) could see the company selling a $US25,000 EV by 2024.
Considering the cheapest Tesla available right now will set you back $68,425 excluding on-roads, this could be a huge win for consumers and the company’s profitability.
However, it’s entirely possible that the deal cost Tesla more than just a measly $3, and that they may have purchased the company itself, in addition to the patents.
This has been widely speculated based on the fact that multiple former Springpower employees changed their LinkedIn employment details to ‘Tesla’ almost immediately after the patent was sold, and that the Springpower website is now virtually non-existent.
Tesla is yet to confirm or deny the purchase, but it wouldn’t be surprising considering the company quietly acquired another Canadian battery specialist, Hibar Systems, back in 2019.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Tesla for comment.