Dyson To Acquire Sakti3 For $90 Million

OCT 20 2015 BY MARK KANE 45

Sir James Dyson, Founder of Dyson

Sir James Dyson, Founder of Dyson

Dyson, after investment of $15 million in Sakti3 earlier this year, and speculations about electric cars, confirmed its intention to acquire the Sakti3 solid state battery start-up for $90 million.

James Dyson said that the next step will be a major battery factory.

Sakti3/Dyson batteries at first will go into Dyson devices (expected in one or two years):

“Dyson confirmed on Monday that it has acquired Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Sakti3 and plans to use the startup’s solid-state lithium-ion technology to improve the battery life on its cordless vacuums, deliver new products and build a battery production plant.”

Building a battery production facility will require up to $1 billion in investments, according to the article, and the U.S. is one of options for the site.

Ann Marie Sastr, founder and CEO of Sakti3, will stay at the company as an executive for Dyson.

Not everything is yet clear, but it seems that Dyson has a broad plan:

“The company is expected to pair Sakti3’s solid-state batteries with its own internally developed digital motors.

The start-up’s technology is merely one component of Dyson’s broader $1.5 billion investment in R&D to develop new commercial products, Dyson said. For example, the company has invested in cleaning robots.

“Dyson’s really become a technology company,” he said.”

Sakti3 at White House Demo Day:

Next gen batteries conversation – Fortune Magazine:

Source USA Today via Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech

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45 Comments on "Dyson To Acquire Sakti3 For $90 Million"

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So its likely a failure. Startups typically shop themselves after Phase 3. For the founder to do this implies that their tech is probably good enough for simple consumer products but something major is blocking adoption in EVs. Pity….

Dyson much like Musk (both billionaires) don’t exactly have a track record in failure !

Dyson have tested the batteries and found them very efficient, so they will make a lot of money spreading better batteries ! Go Dyson-Sakti GO!

Very efficient? Better batteries? Before you start waving your pom poms, ask yourself: if Sakti3’s batteries are so efficient and so much better, why did Sakti3 sell the entire company for only $90 million? If Sakti3’s batteries truly were “very efficient” and “better batteries,” either Satki3 wouldn’t have sold the company to Dyson or Sakti3 would have sold it to Dyson for a sh!tload more money than $90 million, a mere pittance of what a company with revolutionary battery tech/patents would be worth on the open market.

Also, the company founder and CEO apparently isn’t retaining any ownership interest in Satki3 or obtaining any Dyson shares in the sale. She is cashing out for the best deal she can get. I doubt she will still be around when the first Dyson vacuum cleaners with Satki3 tech batteries are sold to the public, if that ever happens in the future.

If they were so horrible why did Dyson buy them?

Because Sven is a genious billionaire & Dyson is an idiot !

I didn’t realize there such a thing as Dyson fan boys.

It might be something as simple as price versus suitability. Like, they know they can’t match the falling prices of li-ion, but solid state is actually a better, safer battery for use in vacuum cleaners because it won’t need a management or cooling system (since vacuums naturally move a lot of air). This is not a failure if it applies to a wide range of other cordless devices that might be common in the future. Think about all that pollution from lawn mowers and leaf blowers.

That’s how I see it too, +1

Good post, I agree. These might have been good for cell phones, but competition is stiff. A123 had DeWalt, now Sakti3 has Dyson.

That’s the way I read it. Sakti3’s solid-state battery tech, which we were all hoping would power the EV revolution, is worth only $90 million. In comparison, the SnapChat instant messaging app has a $10 billion valuation, and the WhatsApp messaging app was worth $19 billion when Facebook bought it. C’est la vie. 🙁

+10

SnapChat and WhatsApp are fully baked products with enormous user bases. Sakati is IP that requires a $1B investment to make a reality and currently has no consumers or products. So the value of the two (three) are very different.

If the Sakti3 solid-state battery IP is truly groundbreaking, Satki3 could have easily licensed the IP to Tesla/Panasonic for the Gigafactory that they are currently building, and also licensed it to LG Chem and any other battery manufacturer that wanted to use it. If Satki3’s IP could have built a better mousetrap (battery), the world would have beat a path to its door. Didn’t Elon say that if anyone had a better battery tech, all they had to do was drop off a working sample for Tesla to evaluate. Elon basically said to Sakti3 and all other battery companies and startups: put up or shut up with your claims of having invented a better battery. Satki3 obviously didn’t put up. If Satki3 battery tech was any good, why wasn’t there a bidding war between Dyson and numerous battery manufacturers? The CEO and the Board of Directors of Satki3 would be remiss in their fiduciary duty to shareholders to maximize value to not shop the company around to Telsa, Panasonic, LG Chem, and other battery manufacturers. Sakti3 must have offered the company for sale to the above companies, but got no bites for their allegedly superior battery IP, and had to… Read more »

Sakti3 should be worth way more then $90 million, if their solid state batteries are any better than the current LI. To have sold out so cheap makes me think there are some major problems, despite Dyson’s enthusiasm.

This smells a lot like Envia and EEstor to me.

Doesn’t look like the “God” battery is coming to EVs.

???? What happened to GM’s stake in this company?

I always pictures Sakti’s solid state batteries powering EVs someday, not vacuum cleaners. Sounds like some very promising technology got seriously sidetracked here.

I’m not sure why people are thinking they had gotten side-tracked or that the tech isn’t suitable for EVs. It has been Sakti3’s stated strategy to enter the market in consumer electronics then to expand into the EV market and ultimately grid storage.

Yes that is Sakti3’s plan but what is Dyson’s plan he sees vacuums not EVs. The concern is that the focus will be on the small light batteries for consumer electronics.

I hope they keep there eyes open and Dyson becomes a battery supplier for EVs.

I know that but it strikes me as odd that GM has given up its stake if the goal is to get these batteries in cars eventually.

It strikes me more as ominous than odd.

It is somewhat ominous that GM should choose not to stick close to this technology. Other articles about this subject still talk about future use in cars though, putting Dyson right up there with the likes of Panasonic and LG Chem.

It appears you have 2 different mindsets in the auto industry. Tesla is getting more deeply into the manufacturing and improvement of the cells while GM is distancing itself from it.
Auto manufacturers used to make just about every part in their cars, now most only make their own engines and everything else is third party. I tend to think Tesla has properly identified the battery as the item you should in-house to differentiate yourself, but who knows.

GM definitely expressed deep satisfaction recently about the deal it got from LG Chem netting it low battery cost without the need for large scale production.

Maybe for carmakers that are mainly in the game for compliance reasons its attractive to source from third parties, while those that plan for serious scale will want to make their own batteries.

GM has a huge battery testing lab, checking out all the technology. I don’t think Sakti3 or any other battery tech is off the table. It’s probably just not the best right now, or even feasible for cars yet.

Maybe it still has limitation that is unsuitable for automotive application but okay for consumer application.

Maybe GM doesn’t want to wait to find out if they can solve the problem.

Chris, great question!

I wonder about the same thing.

On the Bolt’s price article, Mark Reuss of GM did say that they achieved “$145/kWh price and it is the lowest cost in the industry in terms of capital invested.”

That is an interesting piece of information. So GM feels that it got a great price by partnering with LG Chem without investing in the battery itself. Maybe Sakti3 would require much more to get the battery ready for automotive application where GM doesn’t view the investment as worthy the risk since it already achieves what it needs with LG Chem (expected to be $100/kWh by 2020).

ROIC rules in this case. GM is still a “bean counter” focused, Wall Street controlled company.

You believe it when GM says they pay 145$, and don’t ask yourself why they disclose the price of a key component to the competition?

I’m sure they already pay much less, and use this as a marketing tool to fool us.

They have to justify the high price tag of the Bolt somehow..

90 million seems cheap. Seems like a marriage made in heaven.

I bet that’s exactly what Dyson’s Bank Manager is thinking !

Interesting. I wonder what this really means. Perhaps it means Dyson wants in on the next big thing. But do they have the ability to raise the capital for a gigafactory?

Or perhaps it is a bad sign as many posts above think.

Yeah, I’m going to have to agree with the above posts . . . being bought for $90 million is a bad sign. If they really had something big, it would have gone for a LOT more.

OTOH, $90 million is an awful lot of money to waste on battery tech that promises no serious improvements over what’s currently available.

This is anything but a failure! This is a huge success! Dyson is capable of taking Sakti3 to the next level (i.e. EV batteries) by first commercializing the technology for appliances (vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, …) and then scaling up to EVs and utility scale energy storage. Dr Ann Marie Sastry explained it quite eloquently in the second video. I must be a true nerd because her articulation of the (complex) technology made perfect sense to me and even brought a (joyful) tear to my eye. Doubling the energy density, improving safety and lowering the costs well beyond the high volume forecasts by Tesla (Panasonic) and LG Chem will result in practical, affordable EVs … according to Dr Sastry, in 2 or 3 years!

“. . . will result in practical, affordable EVs … according to Dr Sastry, in 2 or 3 years!” Practical and affordable EVs in only 2 or 3 years, and she sold the company and it’s future income stream for only $90 million? Her predictions don’t jive with her actions. I’ve seen this movie before. I know how it ends. Whatever happened to that other once promising battery startup founded by a woman, Boston Power? Boston Power got $125 million-plus in funding from China, moved the company to China, the female founder said she is staying on to guide the company to a bright future, then less than one year later the female founder resigns from the board of directors and cuts off all ties to Boston Power. Instead of staying at Boston Power and building groundbreaking batteries to power the EV revolution, she went on to join a hedge fund. The Empress has no clothes. She jumped off a sinking ship, just as the female founder of Sakti3 will jump off a sinking ship within a year. As the late Yogi Berra would have said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” It also reminds me of that old Steve… Read more »

There are several “breakthrough” battery concepts currently baking in various labs (some pie-in-the-sky, some real) including a few in the “solid state” category that are somewhat similar to Sakti3.

Sakti3 was started in 2007 as a spin-off from a University of Michigan battery research project. It’s taken 7 years for Sakti3 to go from lab concept to lab production ready. That’s a short time frame for a new battery tech. But taking it to the next step from lab production ready to large scale production with actual customer(s) willing to place the new battery tech into their consumer products is a very hard thing to pull off…the thing that sinks most battery tech startups.

All things considered, this is a good deal for both Sakti3 & Dyson.

CherylG'sDirtyLittleSecret

Dyson will do to the Sakti3 cells what Tesla did to the Laptop batteries.

I heard Dyson and Tesla are discussing the integration of high performance vacuum cleaners in the front bumpers of all Model 3 to eliminate micro bumps, improving range, and making our future even cleaner!
😉

Correct, in addition the front end vacuums will bring dirty toxic air emitted from gas guzzlers into its micron filter chamber and neutralize GHGs. GO TESLA GO

The new vacuum/cars will render street sweepers obsolete, when they get the autonomous control working, drivers are gone.

It makes perfect sense now. Recently (sep-8) Dyson was quoted as saying he won’t rule out making EVs.

http://ecomento.com/2015/09/08/dyson-considering-electric-car/

“We are ruling nothing out,” boss Max Conze reportedly said during a recent earnings call, in response to a question about whether Dyson would join companies like Apple in probing the car industry.

Maybe Dyson is an ideal first market for a solid state battery.
Dyson sells innovate vacuum cleaners at a premium price. Initial production costs of a new battery are likely to be higher than existing commodity cells which are produced in high volume. Dyson might be able to cope with that in its premium pricing business model.
If that goes well, Dyson could either ramp up production or licence an existing battery manufacturer.
There is still the major doubt of why Sakti3 could not be sold for a lot more to Tesla or Apple or a battery manufacturer.

I can see a better battery being an advantage in Dyson’s tiny robot vacuum cleaner:

How useful is a $1000 vacuum cleaner with 0.4 liter capacity? Really odd that there is no mention of connecting the docking station to the trash can, like with a central vacuuming system. Please tell me you don’t have to manually empty your robot after it collects just 0.4 liters of dirt!

Sounds like the ENVIA debacle all over again….

indeed it is the same assss Envia. Like Envia, this Sakti3 is a basic reasearch company that is doing basic research and they most certainly do not have commercially viable product ready. And right now no one can say when it is done – if ever. Of course cynics are right that it will not be commercially viable with about 99.98 % probability.

But anyway, I hope that Dyson goes all in for electric cars, because the growth potetial is huge and Volkswagen and Toyota are rathen bankrupting their companies than to invest on electric car research and development.