Vacuum manufacturer Dyson is acquiring battery firm Sakti3, and plans to build a large battery factory to take advantage of its new acquisition’s technology. Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Sakti3 specializes in solid-state batteries, which replace the typical liquid electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries with a solid material.
Dyson is interested in solid-state batteries because it believes they can improve the battery life of its devices, reports USA Today. The company plans to invest $1 billion in the new battery factory, and could locate it in the U.S., possibly even in Sakti3’s home state. Dyson paid $90 million for Sakti3, after already investing $15 million in the company.
Sakti3 previously promoted its batteries as a more-efficient alternative to the lithium-ion cells currently used in electric cars. It’s said solid-state cells can become around twice as efficient, and claims their inert solid electrolyte is more stable, lessening the potential for fires. The company received some funding from the investment arm of General Motors. Volkswagen also has ties to a company developing solid-state batteries, QuantumScape.
Just last month, Dyson boss Max Conze said the company wouldn’t rule out its own electric car, but the Sakti3 purchase doesn’t necessarily mean Dyson is proceeding in that direction. Founder Sir James Dyson would not comment on whether Sakti3’s battery technology would be used in electric cars, only noting that it could be licensed to another company. So car, no company has firmly committed to using solid-state batteries in a production electric car.
Dyson said solid-state batteries were attractive for smaller-scale applications like vacuum cleaners because they do not overheat, and said he expects them to charge faster and last longer as well. The company will start using solid-state batteries in its consumer products within the next year or two, likely paired with its own “digital” motors.