Tesla to Acquire Ultracapacitor Company Maxwell

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Tesla plans to acquire ultracapacitor company Maxwell Technologies in a deal announced Monday by the two companies.


Mike Wilk, Maxwell senior systems engineer, is part of the team that installed the first ultracapacitor energy storage system on UC San Diego’s microgrid. (Photo: Maxwell Technologies)

The San Diego, California manufacturer would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla in the all-stock acquisition. The offer values Maxwell common stock at $4.75/share, a 54.7% premium to its closing price Friday of $3.07.

The $218 million sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

The deal would add the ultracapacitor to Tesla’s energy storage products. The technology provides high power density, quick discharge and long operational life — so less frequent replacement than batteries. Maxwell also offers dry battery electrode technology, which the company touts for its cost-savings potential in electric vehicles, Tesla’s signature product.

Tesla is aiming to double its energy storage deployment in 2019 to about 2 GWh. The company tripled its energy storage play last year from 358 MWh in 2017 to 1.04 GWh in 2018.

“We believe this transaction is in the best interests of Maxwell stockholders and offers investors the opportunity to participate in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy,” said Franz Fink, president and CEO of Maxwell.

Maxwell’s technology is on display in a microgrid at the University of California, San Diego, which has one of the nation’s most advanced microgrids, generating 92 percent of the campus’ electricity. Housed in a 20-foot container, the 30-kW ultracapacitor system smooths the power variability created by the microgrid’s solar energy.

Tour the UCSD microgrid a part of Microgrid 2019: Shaping the New Electric Grid, May 14-16 in San Diego, California

The company also markets its ultracapacitors to several other industries, among them automotive, heavy transportation, wireless communications and consumer and industrial electronics.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s iconic co-founder and CEO, is a long-time fan of ultracapacitors and once considering doing doctoral work on the technology, according to a 2013 tweet by Musk.




Maxwell’s board of directors has approved the merger with Tesla.

DLA Piper represented Maxwell as outside legal counsel, and Barclays Capital served as independent advisor to Maxwell in connection with the transaction. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Tesla as outside legal counsel.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.