*UPDATE: We've put the official announcement from Sakti3 below.

Every now and then, we hear a little bit more information from the Michigan battery company Sakti3, which is somewhat secretly working on advanced solid state lithium batteries. In March, for example, the company was named an affiliate of the US Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). This week, according to GigaOM, Sakti3's founder Ann Marie Sastry announced that its solid state li-ion battery will be able to double the range of an electric car (or, make things like cell phones last twice as long between charges). If applied to a vehicle like the Tesla Model S, that would mean 480 miles on one charge. This should permanently remove the phrase "range anxiety" from our vocabulary, shouldn't it?

Even more interesting is the claim that Sakti3 believes these batteries could be had for just $100 per kWh, well under not only today's costs but also the predictions others have made for the near future. Of course, the batteries are not here yet, but the company says its test packs were made on "fully scalable equipment," implying that the time to put up or shut up should be here soon, don't you think?

Another bit of news, if we can call it that, is a video that is supposed to show what happens when you drop hot soldering material onto one of the Sakti3 cells: basically, nothing and the cell continues to work safely. Note, though, that the title of the video is "Please DO NOT try this with your own battery!" which is just good advice. Watch the audio-free clip below.

Despite the relatively low profile, Sakti3 has been able to get investment attention. The company got $4.2 million from GM Ventures and Itochu in 2010 and $2.5 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in 2008, for example. In total, Sakti3 has received over $30 million for its better-battery tech. We're ready for the cars any time now.


Show full PR text
University of Michigan Spin-Out Sakti3 Delivers Double the Energy Density of Current Lithium Ion Battery Technology, Cells Produced in Ann Arbor Lab

Ann Arbor, Michigan –August 20, 2014 – Sakti3, Inc. (www.sakti3.com) announced that it has produced a battery cell on fully scalable equipment with over 1100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density. This translates to more than double the usage time in a wearable device like a smartwatch, from 3.5 h to more than 9 h. It also translates to almost double the range in an EV like the Tesla Model S, from 256 mi to 480 mi.

"It's clearly a breakthrough – it's a world's best, made on a mass-production platform," said Professor Wei Lu from the University of Michigan, a battery expert knowledgeable about the process. "It's not either/or in cost and performance in batteries anymore – Sakti3 has both. They built a really high performance device on a really low cost platform – like building millions of high end processors in a factory that produces ordinary plastic wrap. It was quite a scientific feat."

Sakti3 reports that it demonstrated over 1000 Wh/l over two years ago, and has since moved to a pilot tool, using all scalable materials and equipment. The technology development was guided by mathematical simulations, starting with materials, and continuing to full scale plant layout to avoid any high cost materials, equipment or processes.

Along with having an ultra-low cost solution, the battery cells are also the safest ever demonstrated because of the all-solid-state construction and materials in the cells. Sakti3 has released a video (http://youtu.be/ICQcj73dMgI) demonstrating an abuse test in which hot solder is dropped into the cycling cell – and it continues to operate normally.

"Our target is to achieve mass production of cells at ~$100/kWh," said Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3. "Our key patents on the technology have been issued, we are up and running on larger tooling, and can now speed up processing. Our first market will be consumer electronics, and after that, we'll move to other sectors."

About Sakti3
Sakti3 is commercializing a breakthrough, high performance, low cost and intrinsically safe solid state battery technology. The materials, device designs and manufacturing methodologies were selected and optimized using advanced computational modeling, and lockstep, small-scale prototyping. The company is now scaling its prototypes in pilot production.

Sakti3 has received $30MM in venture funding from Khosla Ventures, GM Ventures, Itochu, and a grant from the State of Michigan.

Sakti3 has been recognized for its innovative approaches with several technical and business awards, including recognition as an Energy Innovation Pioneer by CERAWEEK (2014), in MIT's Technology Review as one the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies (2012) and the winner of the World's Top Ten in the Energy Category (2011).


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  • 22 Comments
      electric-car-insider
      • 3 Months Ago
      Sakti3 has an innovative approach and is making good progress. If you watched the video, the tester is dropping hot molten metal on the battery and it does not fail. Considering that lithium batteries which have liquid electrolytes have a tendency to catch on fire if abused, it is a very impressive demonstration of the advantage of the Sakti3 solid electrolyte approach.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Months Ago
      It's easy to become cynical about announcements concerning technical innovations. Most research, remains just that, research. Projects that once seemed so promising just disappear, get superseded, or the need disappears due to changing circumstances. Commercialisation of any technology is a long, expensive ,and frustrating process. Very few projects actually make to the commercial phase and even then, most wither in the face of competition. (sort of like evolution) This process is little understood, and is exploited by conspiracy theorists, and confidence tricksters alike. The saddest, are those inventors who can't accept that their projects are either unworkable, or un-commercial, and waste years trying to convince any one who will listen, that the project was always viable, if only.... ESD technology is the principal deterrent to EV adoption. Naturally, it's the 'holy grail' for the EV industry. I remain convinced, that someone, somewhere, is well advanced in developing dramatic new methods of storing energy. Not just one method, as technology and supporting science increases, these 'breakthroughs will become more common, and faster. I wish the researchers at Sakti3 success in their quest. We live in interesting times.
      Alex
      • 4 Months Ago
      Another battery announcement presumably to drum up investor confidence or actual $investments. These have been going on every week since before the tesla roadster hit the shelves. None have produced anything yet... But the Panasonic batteries in the Tesla get 5% more energy dense every year without any fanfare.
      Alex
      • 4 Months Ago
      Another battery announcement presumably to drum up investor confidence or actual $investments. These have been going on every week since before the tesla roadster hit the shelves. None have produced anything yet... But the Panasonic batteries in the Tesla get 5% more energy dense every year without any fanfare.
      itsme38269
      • 4 Months Ago
      Or better yet, they could make a battery 1/3 the size and 1/3 the price, which would be better for about 99% of people. Nobody needs a 480 mile battery. This is stupid.
      Alex
      • 4 Months Ago
      Another battery announcement presumably to drum up investor confidence or actual $investments. These have been going on every week since before the tesla roadster hit the shelves. None have produced anything yet... But the Panasonic batteries in the Tesla get 5% more energy dense every year without any fanfare.
      itsme38269
      • 4 Months Ago
      Or better yet, they could make a battery 1/3 the size and 1/3 the price, which would be better for about 99% of people. Nobody needs a 480 mile battery. This is stupid.
        NestT
        • 4 Months Ago
        @itsme38269
        Almost nobody buys a car based on need. They buy the most wants they can afford. Not only does a 480 mile mean more range but better performance and 300 mile real world range in the dead of winter with snow on the highways with heater on at maximum. A lot of people "want" that. You can also reverse that to middle of summer with temps over 100 degrees with the AC and Stereo on at full blast.
        goodoldgorr
        • 4 Months Ago
        @itsme38269
        If I can get a 480 miles battery I will choose it as I live in an apartment so it will be useful to charge at a fast charger fewer time and also for long driving day when on vacation and also in winter when energy use is double because of ice cold and heater. Also as more and more people recharge then public chargers might be crowded.
      danfred311
      • 4 Months Ago
      This poor a demonstration this late in the game seems to me strong evidence that she will never produce anything real. The absence of any positive indicators from the stupidly named company in the many years so far, echo that.
      goodoldgorr
      • 4 Months Ago
      Im right to actually stick with my 2005 gasoline neon but soon I hope to change it for an affordable bev with long range, here in Canada we need extra long range as it's cold, icy and snowy. On long winter night the ramge is reduced and it's not the time to get left on the road going empty. Im glad that our electricity come from hydro-electricity so cheap price without pollution. I hope they are on a breakthrough, my cell phone will also be glad with a 2x battery. Im ready to see the show going and watch millions of bev everywhere and witness a price drop for gasoline. Im happy tonight but bring this battery soon.
      Grendal
      • 4 Months Ago
      Show me, don't tell me. Make them available to buy to the general public and then we're talking.
      Alex
      • 4 Months Ago
      Another battery announcement presumably to drum up investor confidence or actual $investments. These have been going on every week since before the tesla roadster hit the shelves. None have produced anything yet... But the Panasonic batteries in the Tesla get 5% more energy dense every year without any fanfare.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Great. How much do they weigh/how much space do they take up per kwh? Without that info, EV application theorizing is meaningless.
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