Tesla and Nano One: have they entered into a ‘Cathode Evaluation Agreement’?

Nano One is a technology company based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. It has developed patented technology for the low-cost production of high-performance lithium ion battery cathode materials used in electric vehicles (EVs).

In a press release earlier this week the company announced it had entered into a “Cathode Evaluation Agreement” with a major global automotive company. Without naming any names, CEO Dan Blondal said the company was “an American based multinational auto manufacturer” and a “major global EV leader”.

Those are pretty big hints that point straight in the direction of Tesla as there is no other US automaker that is a global leader in the EV marketplace.

What technology does Nano One have that Tesla wants?

While Tesla’s new 4680 tabless battery cell is revolutionary, it still requires a positive electrode, the cathode, and a negative electrode, the anode. By some estimates, the cathode accounts for 25% or more of the cost to produce a lithium-ion battery for EV applications.

Reduce the cost of the cathode, and you reduce the cost of the battery.

Nano One has developed what it calls a “One-Pot process” which they say reduces both the cost and complexity of cathode material production.

Independent studies have shown that cathodes covered with a protective nanomaterial can help them survive four times as many charge cycles than if they were not. Current processes coat a cluster of nanocrystals together after they are produced. This can lead to the coating breaking down as the cluster expands and contracts through the charge-discharge cycles (think of a road freezing-thawing resulting in potholes).

The Vancouver-based company’s process coats the individual nanocrystals as they’re produced. Not only does this improve the cathode’s durability, it also eliminates a costly step in production.

Nano One Process Advantage
Image via Nano One

Not only is their process cost-effective and more efficient, it is also environmentally, something which Tesla CEO Elon Musk takes very seriously. Nano One says their One Pot process uses limited water and produces no waste stream.

If Tesla is the unnamed US automaker, it wouldn’t be the first major automaker Nano One has worked with. Since 2019 the company has worked with Volkswagen Research Group to “identify materials and processes for a new generation of lithium-ion batteries.”

h/t: InvestorIntel

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