Sakti3 scooped up by Dyson for a cool $90 million

Vacuum-Cleaner Maker Broadens Technology Investment, May Reach Plug-In Vehicles

Could we see vacuum-cleaner honcho James Dyson and Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk duking it out in the arena of dashing electric-vehicle executives with really cool accents. That has become a question worth asking after the high-end vacuum-cleaner maker Dyson acquired Michigan-based battery maker Sakti3 for its solid-state lithium-ion technology. This technology could eventually find its way into electric vehicles, which are a far cry from even the most advanced vacuum cleaners.

Dyson paid about $90 million for Sakti3, which was led by Ann Marie Sastry and spun out of the University of Michigan, USA Today says. The draw is Sakti3's solid-state technology, which can give the batteries a higher energy density with fewer moving parts than the conventional lithium-ion batteries that are commonly used in plug-in vehicles. So while the batteries may go along way in extending the single-charge life of Dyson's bagless vacuum cleaner, the technology may be put to better use in future plug-in vehicles. The company isn't being specific about its plans for Sakti3, though it has said it was looking to become a broader technology company and not just a vacuum-cleaner maker.

Earlier this year, Dyson sunk $15 million into Sakti3. That battery company's investors also include General Motors. As of this spring, Sakti3 had raised about $50 million, and was on record as saying its sold-state batteries had the potential to provide twice the energy density of a more typical lithium-ion battery. Dyson is said to have set aside more than $2 billion specifically for tech-related investments, so this could just be an early step into something bigger.

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