Panasonic's standing in the plug-in and hybrid battery production industry has zoomed ahead like a Tesla Model S taking off from a standstill. That's appropriate because the Japanese company's relationship with the California-based automaker has been the primary reason for its growth, which looks like it will continue to be rapid.
It's been quite a while since we've heard anything from Sakti3, the Ann Arbor-based battery company that has been working on next-generation solid state lithium batteries for many years. Heck, even the company's website doesn't have any news that isn't a year old. Thankfully, our friend Jim Motavalli, who blogs for Car Talk, recently talked to Sakti3's Ann Marie Sastry on the eve of her company being named an affiliate of the US Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JC
Toyota has never been a big fan of lithium ion batteries, and has a plan in place to replace them with solid-state batteries that are three-to-four times more powerful. Toyota will commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries – which offer a fivefold increase for the same weight – could follow several years later, said Shigeki Suzuki, managing officer for material engineering. Suzuki didn't offer details on a rollout plan or vehicle volumes.
Matthew Dakotah over at the Huffington Post has been writing a special "Women in Power" series that profiles leaders in energy and environmental innovation. His latest article on Ann Marie Sastry piqued our interest since she happens to be President and CEO of Sakti3. If you recall, Sakti3 is a promising next-generation lithium-ion battery developer that General Motors and Itochu invested $4.2 million in late last year.
Planar Energy, a spin-off of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, has quietly been developing solid-state battery technology and remains convinced that the future of electric vehicle batteries is solid-state technology. The Orlando-based company believes that its solid-state design could potentially offer more power output and higher energy storage density than a typical lithium ion battery. As Planar Energy notes, typical lithium ion batteries lack stability and longevity due to undesira