Batteries are often still the main limiting factor when it comes to most electronic devices we use every day, and that includes electric vehicles. That’s why Dyson has invested $15 million into Sakti3, a Michigan-based firm that is developing a solid state battery tech that theoretically has much higher energy density (power per inch, essentially) than the current, liquid-based Lithium ion tech used in smartphones, notebooks, and (relevance alarm) Dyson’s handheld cordless vacuums.
Batteries continue to be among the wonder technologies most resistant to change, as the liquid Li-ion tech used in today’s gadgets was essentially pioneered back in 1991 by Sony, as a means of achieving higher energy densities vs. nickel cadmium rechargeables.
Sakti3’s tech is based on University of Michigan tech, and switches to a solid-state format, similar in many ways to the kind of solid state storage tech used for SSD computer drives. Instead of liquid Li-ion, Sakti3’s batteries use solid lithium electrodes, which makes it much better at storing more energy in smaller spaces, and at doing so in a safer manner, with a cheap and easy manufacturing method.
Dyson’s interest, as noted above, could definitely be around its handheld vacuums, which currently max out at around 20 minutes of unplugged power. But Sakti3’s research could have much further-ranging implications, for industries including smartphone sand PCs, as well as for vehicles. Dyson founder and CEO James Dyson has denied plans for any Dyson car in the future, but it often draws comparisons between its vacuum motors and vehicle powerhouses.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as they say, and better batteries will serve anyone making electronics, so regardless of Dyson’s intentions for its new strategic partner, this is an exciting investment and a company to watch if you’ve ever hoped your smartphone could last longer than a day or two on a single charge.