A small, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based startup may have just doubled the potential battery life of smartphones, laptops, and electric cars. Sakti3, a startup specializing in battery technology, just inked a deal with vacuum cleaner giant Dyson that includes a $15 million funding round and integration of their batteries into Dyson’s products. The batteries, which store twice as much energy as standard lithium-ion batteries, are called “solid-state batteries” and rely on solid lithium electrodes instead of the liquids used in conventional batteries.
Sakti3 has been relatively secretive about the technology behind the batteries, but claims they can store nearly 1,000 watt hours per liter, and are also cheaper to manufacture, more environmentally friendly, and somewhat safer to use than the standard.
In a press release, Sir James Dyson said that “Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance, which current battery technology simply can’t. It’s these fundamental technologies–batteries, motors–that allow machines to work properly.”
Sakti3, whose technology is believed to be one of the key features that could make mass-produced $25,000 electric cars a possibility, has received past undisclosed funding rounds from GM Ventures (General Motors’ venture capital arm) and Khosla Ventures. One issue that may have led Sakti3 to team up with Dyson first, rather than a consumer electronics company or an automaker, is safety: When testing out a new kind of battery on the mass market, it’s simply more cautious (and perhaps smarter) to deploy them in vacuum cleaners than in smartphones held in people’s pockets or in automobiles filled with combustible material.
The $15 million funding round is Dyson’s first-ever funding of an external company, and is expected to result in 100 new machines being released over the next four years.
[via MIT Technology Review]