This week on Watt It Takes: How a Ukrainian immigrant quietly toiled away on a new battery chemistry and created a cleantech unicorn.

Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Gene Berdichevsky, the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies, to talk about building a battery company by applying lessons learned from other failures.

Sila is developing a new lithium-ion battery chemistry that uses silicon in place of graphite, leading to an improvement in battery density by 20 percent. This spring, Daimler led a $170 million round in Sila, valuing the startup at $1 billion.

Berdichevsky was the seventh employee at Tesla, where he developed the Roadster’s battery. For the last eight years, Berdichevsky’s team at Sila has been working on a drop-in replacement for today’s lithium-ion batteries. What will it take to scale over the next decade?

This conversation was recorded live at Powerhouse’s headquarters. Buy tickets for upcoming events.

Support for this podcast comes from PG&E. Did you know that 20 percent of EV drivers in the U.S. are in PG&E’s service area in Northern California? PG&E is helping to electrify corporate fleet vehicles. Get in touch with PG&E’s EV specialists to find out how you can take your transportation fleet electric.

We're also sponsored by Wunder Capital. Wunder Capital is the leading commercial solar financing company in the United States. Click here to find out how Wunder Capital can help you finance your next commercial solar project.

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