Dyson is investing £10.1 million in solid-state battery technology which could deliver huge gains in all kinds of consumer applications – and that includes the humble smartphone.
The pioneering British tech company has invested $15 million in Sakti3, which specialises in solid-state battery technology capable of running an electric car for 600 miles on a single char – or powering the next generation of cordless vacuum cleaners.
Sakti3, which can trace its origins back to the University of Michigan, uses vacuum deposition technology to create very high energy density battery cells which don’t rely on reactive liquid compounds like traditional Li-ion cells. Instead, the batteries use solid lithium electrodes to deliver twice the performance of a Li-ion battery.
“Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance, which current battery technology simply can’t,” said Sir James Dyson, the company’s head engineer and founder. “It’s these fundamental technologies – batteries, motors – that allow machines to work properly.”
A big selling point with Sakti3’s technology is that it is likely to be comparatively easy and affordable to mass produce, making it a much more realistic option than other, more fringe technologies, which promise huge performance boosts but which would require monumental investment to become viable for the consumer market.
Better battery life is the current Holy Grail in smartphone research and manufacture, with companies devoting time and money into battery saving modes and fast charge tech for their new hardware. New commercially viable cells, which could deliver up to twice the battery life of current cells, would be a game changer as companies look for new ways to power all of the tech they’re now squeezing into our mobiles.
The general public wants nothing more than a smartphone which doesn’t need charging every couple of hours too. A recent survey carried out by HuffPost found that 73% of smartphone users would rather have a thicker phone with better battery life than a thinner device which offered up less life-span.
With the help of Sir James and his newly made friends at Sakti3, we could potentially have both.
While the company’s technology isn’t quite ready for the market yet, it could be in the near-future, owing to the fact that they’re using standard manufacturing equipment to make their prototypes – and with no need to buy specialist equipment to produce the new cells, they could go into production much sooner.