Daimler Places Bet on Next-Generation Battery Startup

(Bloomberg) -- As it pushes to electrify its fleet, German automaker Daimler AG has invested in a startup that says it can boost battery performance by at least 20 percent.

Daimler led a $170 million financing round for Sila Nanotechnologies Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area startup that makes silicon-based anode materials for lithium-ion batteries, according to a statement Tuesday. The startup has raised $295 million to date.

Daimler, which expects electric models to make up at least 15 percent of Mercedes-Benz sales by 2025, will take a seat on Sila’s board. Sila also announced Tuesday that former General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt will join the board.

“Advancements in lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly limited, and we are fighting for incremental improvements,” Immelt said in the statement.

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