Tesla may have purchased several patents from a small Canadian startup outlining cleaner, more dependable batteries for just $3.
Documents obtained by TechCrunch reveal that Tesla acquired the patents from Canadian company Springpower International. Following this report, the company’s website has gone nearly entirely blank and only features the message “Questions? Info@springpowerintl.com.”
TechCrunch reports that Tesla purchased the patents only two weeks before its September 2020 Battery Day event. The public record related to the purchase states the following:
“Therefore, for $3.00 and good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties agree as follows…”
One patent outlines a method for recirculating the chemical solutions used to make lithium-ion batteries. Manufacturing the cathodes for EV batteries typically generates a significant amount of contaminated water, including toxic chemicals, metal particles, and ammonia. This new system would be more environmentally friendly and efficient, according to the document. Drew Baglino, Tesla’s senior vice-president of engineering, described a similar system on stage during Battery Day.
TechCrunch suggests that Tesla likely purchased the startup outright and didn’t just buy its patents. For example, several Springpower employees’ LinkedIn profiles indicate that they now work at Tesla.
That said, the electric vehicle giant hasn’t revealed any new acquisitions.
During Battery Day, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company’s advancements in the battery space will allow it to sell a $25,000 USD (about $30,000 CAD) EV in roughly three years.