The “12 Million Mile Battery” — Checking in again on Paul Mampilly’s tease

An updated look at Mampilly's long-running battery teaser, with some new companies to look at

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, August 23, 2021

The first version of this teaser ad was “solved” here on April 23, 2020, when we first saw the ads from Paul Mampilly — most recently this has been more aggressively pitched with the idea of the “12 million mile battery,” so we’re re-posting our solution for you.  The ad has changed a little and is now dated August 2020.

This teaser ad from Paul Mampilly is a bit of a bait and switch, primarily teasing a specific company that you really can’t invest in directly, so that’s your warning up front… but we’ll dig through the ad and see what he’s talking about.

Here’s the beginning of the ad:

“The No. 1 Stock for America’s New Energy Revolution

“America’s getting a potential $51 trillion ‘Energy Upgrade’ … and one company at the forefront could:

“Keep an extra $4,400 in your pocket each year — without you making a single investment… And create more new millionaire investors over the next decade than any other industry.”

And here’s a bit from an email I got from Banyan Hill, introducing Mampilly’s ad:

“Thanks to a former Tesla employee, one of the company’s ‘Original 7’ beat Tesla to the punch.

“His energy innovation is so powerful it can send a Tesla cross country without charging — FOUR TIMES.

“Imagine a ‘superbattery’ that:

  • Charges in eight minutes — not hours.
  • Lasts 9,200 miles between charges.
  • And has a lifespan of 12 MILLION miles.”

So that’s the big focus of this ad, this breakthrough technology that is going to change the world. What is it?

Well, it’s clearly another “next generation battery” teaser pitch. But this one is also both about the general idea of distributed energy storage, and about a specific new technology that will make it explode nationwide because it’s more efficient.

Which is a lot to put on one company, but that’s the magic of the teaser ad: They sell you on a fantastical trend which is real, like the advances in battery storage and battery technology being made by hundreds of companies, and then skip over the hard stuff and leave you with the feeling that there’s one company they’ve identified who will somehow “own” this trend and make you rich.

And as with every compelling teaser ad, there’s a “Number one stock” hiding in the hints. This is how Mampilly hints at it…

“The California company with its revolutionary nanopowder technology. This company, which I expect to begin publicly trading in the next few years, is rolling out its unparalleled energy innovation to all kind of devices, electric vehicles, and 75 million American homes… and as it does, here’s the no. 1 way to profit in the meantime:

“My No. 1 Energy Revolution Stock pick – the future of batteries: a company producing THE critical missing link that every battery needs to power cars and homes in the new age of energy storage.”

So yes, if you read carefully that’s a reference to two different companies. That first one, the “California company,” is the company you can’t invest in, the one that has everyone all lathered up with excitement… but it might be that the second one, what he’s calling his “No. 1 Energy Revolution Stock Pick,” has changed. I was guessing it might be Eaton (ETN) when this first came out in April of 2020, but we’ve also seen a lot of change in this sector, and a lot of new and smaller companies in battery storage and power management have come into the picture… as well as some other “hot” battery stocks like Quantumscape (QS).

This is a tease for Mampilly’s entry level mass-market newsletter, Profits Unlimited ($47, renews at $97), so you can be pretty sure he’s not talking up a penny stock or something that’s difficult to trade, but let’s look a little more at that “California company” and the “big picture” technology story — Mampilly builds this ad around the notion that the future of energy is cheap and renewable because of battery storage, and starts it out with the brand-name connection to Tesla (TSLA).

That includes some nice showmanship in the “presentation”, with the little toaster-oven sized box on a table being the focus — but that, of course, is balderdash. No, there is not a new super-battery being deployed this year that can store 3MWh of electricity in the space taken up by a coffee table book.

But, as always, there’s a kernel of truth underlying the tease. So what is that 100-patent company? More from the ad:

“… the company that owns ALL of these patents is creating the opportunity to profit as this market surges up to 20,300%.

“This company isn’t Tesla or any big company you’ve heard of.

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“Rather, it’s a little-known California company … started by one of Tesla’s original employees.

“He’s known as ‘Employee No. 7.’

“You could call him the secret behind Tesla’s success … even one of the ‘fathers’ of the electric car revolution.

“Yet, few know his name or the new company he founded.

“But that’s all about to change.

“Because his company holds the KEY — the technology in this device — to unlocking a historic energy revolution.”

OK, so that “Employee No. 7” at Tesla was Gene Berdichevsky… and the “California company” being teased is Sila Technologies. Sila is private, though, with almost $300 million in venture capital raised, and you can’t invest in it directly. So what’s the story here?

Here’s how the ad pitches it:

“You see, almost every battery runs on two things: lithium and graphene.

“That’s how it’s been for 40 years, and the battery has been stuck in the same place ever since.

“But this engineer has redefined the very chemistry of the battery for the first time, pushing the old lithium ion battery aside…

“And created a superbattery by incorporating this technology: this jar of black powder…”

The basic idea is that Berdichevsky’s company came up with a way to use more silicon in the battery anode, and that this can boost efficiency because silicon can handle much more energy density than graphite — the challenge has been that if you use too much silicon, the battery gets damaged by the expansion and contraction of the silicon molecules and won’t last as long. This is a well-known problem, and one battery technology companies have been trying to solve for a long time using a lot of different materials, including nanomaterials, but Sila Nanotechnologies has the specific solution that has excited Mampilly…

“This company created a microscopic shell — made out of silicon — that holds the atoms inside.

“Inside there’s a ton of room to expand and shrink…

“So once the lithium ions are absorbed, the particles expand within the shell casing — but not outside.

“And this leaves the outer layer of the battery’s electrode untouched … and undamaged.

“This means you get ALL of the power — with none of the changes in size that crack the battery.”

Their technology does sound very cool and impressive, but they’re also honest enough to acknowledge that big changes take a long time in the automotive space, which is where most of their attention has been focused — cars are products that carry human beings and have an extremely high standard for reliability and safety, and they often have 8-10 year warranties (and are expected to be safe and effective for longer than that), so auto manufacturers are not prone to move quickly or rashly when it comes to new materials or technologies in key parts of the car.

Here’s a Berdichevsky quote to that effect from an article about Sila Nano’s funding round a couple years ago that got them to “unicorn” status with a billion-dollar valuation:

“The qualification time means there’s many years of work to make sure it is reliable for next 10 to 20 years. Our partnership [with Daimler] is geared towards mid-2020s production targets, but the qualification is something that takes quite a while.”

There’s also a good Wired article about Berdichev