News Column

GM-backed start-up aims to make batteries within two years

August 21, 2014

By Nathan Bomey, Detroit Free Press



Aug. 21--An Ann Arbor-based start-up said it has developed lithium-ion battery technology that is nearly twice as efficient as batteries in Tesla Motors' Model S.

Sakti3, a University of Michigan spinoff that has raised $30 million in venture capital, said its new battery cell also has "more than double the usage time in a wearable device like a smartwatch."

The company, whose investors include General Motors and Khosla Ventures, said its battery technology would increase the range of a Model S from 256 to 480 miles.

"We don't believe there's anything outlandish about these projections at all," Sakti3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry said in an interview.

Sastry, a former U-M engineering professor, said the technology would be for sale within two years. Sakti3 intends to target wearable electronics before selling to automakers.

Sakti3 will partner with an unidentified manufacturer instead of investing in its own factory.

"This is not a case where it's an extremely expensive and hard-to-manage process," she said.

Improving the energy density of batteries and lowering their cost is crucial in making electric cars more affordable.

Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or nbomey@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)


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