Dyson Splashes Cash on Tech That May Double Smartphone Battery Life

By Gerald Lynch on at

With mobile screen resolutions now greater than the naked eye can discern and processors powerful enough for most conceivable phone needs, the last remaining bastion of smartphone evolution sits with battery life. Hoping to lead the charge in battery innovation is Dyson -- it's just invested $15 million in Sakti3, a University of Michigan spin-off company that specialises in solid-state battery technology.

The company claims the Sakti3 batteries can hold twice as much as lithium-ion batteries. With them, it aims to double battery life for smartphones, and potentially create electric cars good for 600 miles per charge -- not to mention extending the battery life of Dyson's own cordless vacuum cleaners.

“Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance, which current battery technology simply can’t,” said company founder James Dyson. “It’s these fundamental technologies – batteries, motors – that allow machines to work properly.”

Sakti3's solid-state tech swaps out reactive liquid compounds for solid lithium electrodes, storing 1,000 watt hours per cubic litre -- nearly double the 620 cubic litres of lithium-ion batteries available now. Perhaps most importantly, Sakti3's batteries are expected to be affordable to mass produce and safer than sometimes-combustible liquid-based batteries, with flammable liquid electrolyte removed.

While it may be some time until the Sakti3 tech becomes mainstream, the company creates its prototypes on standard manufacturing equipment, proving its potential for commercialisation in the relatively-near future. Compared to other future-gazing battery tech, it already has an advantage in this sense, and with big-name backing from Dyson, is well placed to succeed.