Dyson Dumps Solid-State Battery Developer Sakti3

SEP 27 2018 BY MARK KANE 80

Dyson writes off investment in Sakti3.

It’s been quite some time since British manufacturer Dyson acquired Michigan-based battery startup Sakti3 in 2015 for $90 million,

But now, according to the latest media reports, Dyson reviewed the investment (reportedly back in December 2017) and recorded an impairment charge of £46 million (over $60 million).

“During the year, management have undertaken an impairment review of the group’s investment in Sakti 3 and have subsequently taken an impairment charge to the P&L [profit and loss statement], the accounts said.”

Does this mean that Sakti3’s lithium solid-state batteries are unsuitable for commercialization, especially for electric vehicles?

Anyways, Dyson’s automotive project still seems to be progressing, although in stealth mode, so we don’t have any solid updates to share at this time.

Source: cityam.com

Categories: Battery Tech

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80 Comments on "Dyson Dumps Solid-State Battery Developer Sakti3"

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amt

Easy Come…..Easy Go….

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Bismillah! No …

Solid state is not only a significant technological challenge, it’s also competing against a rapidly moving commercial target in existing lithium ion.

People used to get excited at the prospect of $200/kWh batteries, but now forecasts are for $100/kWh by mid-2020s. That’s going to be a tough market entry-point. Other slow-moving technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells are facing a similar problem.

Viking79

Exactly, I think Solid State might be long ways in future for commercial viability. Need to hit profitable level with traditional li-ion until then. EV manufacturers can easily transition when they are cost effective. Waiting for Solid State means those companies will likely fail before then.

Nos

We’re even further ahead then that. Tesla is estimated to reach that 100 dollar target this year, just this week Panasonic said they were ahead of their projections on battery production.

tim

Depends if you’re talking cells or packs. Tesla’s cells are around $100/kWh now, but building them into packs isn’t free, so it’ll be a little while before packs get to $100/kWh.

Vexar

I am somewhat certain that Tesla was talking about pack prices.

M Hovis

Tesla stated $100/kWh cell level by years end, $100/kWh pack level by 2020.

Interesting math on the learning curves of technology. PV solar prices fall 26% when manufacturing doubles. Batteries are now said to fall 18% on the doubling of battery manufacturing. With Tesla/Panasonic leading production, this puts them ahead of the curve for the moment. No matter how you slice it, solar, wind, storage, and EVs are going to hit a parity cost curve all around the same time between 2025 – 2027. All of this without solid-state battery impact.

Vexar

Thanks for the verification.

antrik

Actually, chemistry innovations (be it solid state or something else) are required to maintain the logarithmic learning curve — otherwise, it will increasingly become asymptotic…

TJKR

Packs at $100/kWh means your Model 3 LR battery will be $7500. If you can build the rest of the car for about $10-15K… this will be about par for ICE. EV-ICE price parity is right around the corner.

Doggydogworld

How does a $7500 fuel tank equate to ICE parity?

Electric only saves $1000 or so off an econo-car power train. The savings are a few thousand in the performance segment, which is why Tesla focuses on 0-60 so much.

You can also save thousands on higher end pickup/SUV power trains, but a $7500 battery doesn’t provide enough range in that segment.

antrik

The estimations I have seen suggest that longer term, electric (minus battery) should save way more than $1000 even on an econo-car… The various power train components and supporting technology, along with the higher production complexity of the chassis, supposedly adds up to almost $4,000. R&D costs for electric cars should also be lower long term. I don’t remember all the details; but all in all, I concluded that price parity should be reached when the battery cost falls to something between $3,000 and $3,500 — meaning that with a 50 kWh battery (which seams reasonable for an econo-EV), the cost at pack level needs to fall to something around $65 per kWh to reach price parity.

Extrapolating from current trends, that should happen no later than 2023 or so for leaders like Tesla; perhaps some two years later for most other makers…

Rusty

“Grohmann Engineering will help module production become three times faster. Their new system will be sent to the Gigafactory by the end of Q3 or beginning of Q4. The Grohmann machine will be in Zones 1, 2, 3, and Tesla will be receiving three machines. The process was designed to alleviate the previous bottleneck in module production which delayed Model 3 production significantly. The machine is already built, and points to the advantage Tesla will have in building future Gigafactories. They have learned many painful lessons, but have a solid blueprint for porting the factory across the world.” Martin Viecha Tesla corporate liaison.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Solid state vs. Lithium ion seems to be turning into one of those “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good enough” kind of things.

AlfredMolinar

> Solid state vs. Lithium ion

That makes no sense. Lithium ion is what used in the chemistry of the pack, and solid state is the physical state of matter making up the battery.

You can have Lithium ion in batteries that use both liquid or solid electrolytes.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Quite true. Ionic Materials’ solid state “plastic” battery uses a polymer electrolyte rather than a liquid electrolyte, but in operation it works pretty much just like the li-ion batteries in your EV.

Andy

Price isn’t the only benefit of solid state. Energy to weight size ratio is also an important factor, especially so as we get bigger and longer range EV’s. 100kWh is pretty much the maximum you can fit into a mid-large sedan at the moment, so range is restricted to 300 miles (on a warm day). The weight of batteries is going to hamper their use in commercial vehicles and Pickup trucks, especially in Europe where weight is an important factor on what you can drive.

Vexar

Roadster 2020

Andy

The battery is expected to be around 850kg and take up much of the vehicle that in a sedan would be a trunk and full size rear seats.

Musk himself pointed out last year that the Model 3 simply wouldn’t be able to fit a 100kWh battery in.

To put the weight of the battery above into perspective the Toyota Corolla ICE weighs around 1200kg in total, so the 2020 Roadster battery is expected to weight 2/3’s of the weight of a mid sized ICE sedan alone.

Doggydogworld

Roadster will be solid state, mark my words 🙂

Pushmi-Pullyu

The next-gen Roadster won’t use solid state batteries, mark my words. Both Musk and J.B. Straubel have said that solid state batteries are not part of the near-term plans for Tesla.

Oscat

I don’t think so.

antrik

It’s not impossible to fit a larger battery in a mid-large sedan — Lucid for example is claiming 120 or 130 kWh IIRC. The more important question is whether it’s *reasonable* to do it…

BroncoBet

H2 tech is moving very quickly, batteries such as Sakti3 are a complete failure,I thought I read that it was a total fraud. Mainstream Lion are leading for vehicles and consumer electronics, but SS will be a welcome advancement when it finally arrives, who knows when.

Pushmi-Pullyu

What kind of magic are you gonna use to “improve” the hydrogen molecule?

Fuel cell tech is advancing in terms of lower costs for fuel cell stacks, but FCEVs will never be practical so long as they are using compressed H2 for fuel. Now, if they were to use renewable methane or alcohol for fuel, there might be some future for them.

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G2

You keep flogging that H2 horse like it’s 1995 and don’t let anything get in your way Bronco😄

Anthony Fiti

Science (in this case chemistry and physics) is hard. Its not going to be easy to build a commercially successful solid state lithium battery.

Doggydogworld

Solid state will be viable when weight/size matters more than cost. Drones and electric planes, high end cell phones and laptops, Tesla Roadster, etc.

It’ll take 5+ years for solid state prices to be cheap enough for mainstream EVs.

Pushmi-Pullyu

What I’m hoping for (but I don’t know if this is a realistic hope) for solid state batteries, is lower internal resistance, allowing significantly faster charging for plug-in EVs without overheating.

antrik

Not sure why you are hoping for that… AIUI, lowering resistance is one of the major challenges for practical solid state electrolytes.

Oscar

I’d say more like 10 years

earl colby pottinger

We know if the SS batteries were better than Lithium Ion ones that they would be in Dyson Vacuums already.

Speculawyer

“Better” is not enough. They have to be easily manufacturable. They have to be safe. They have to be cheap. They have to last a long time. They have to be robust such that likely improper use doesn’t destroy them or make them unsafe.

There are a whole bunch of hurdles that batteries must clear before they become commercial products.

tim

The price is the big one. If today’s lithium batteries were really inexpensive, inexpensive enough to put 200kWh in a cheap car, there’s no lack performance in lithium batteries except some extra weight. Even charging speed goes up with battery capacity.

Wouter

Interesting to follow are http://www.prologium.com.tw and https://www.imec-int.com/en/large-storage-solid-state-li-ion-batteries

Both seem a groups of engineers trying to make solid state work. The Taiwanese focus on high capacity per volume, the second progresses in mass produxtivity of solod state batteries.

Speculawyer

The battery biz is inscrutable. It is just too hard for the layman to analyze claimed advances. It looks like even knowledgeable inventors/investors get it wrong.

I just hope someone has a real breakthrough some day.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

I think this is partly because there’s so many variables. Energy per unit mass, materials needed to make the cell, how easily manufacturing can be scaled, cost per unit, cost per unit of stored energy, weight, usable discharge cycles, operational temperature ranges, charge times, etc. etc. etc.

In a lot of ways, battery development mimics the attempts to develop rocket fuels in the 1930s-1950s, but with even more variables.

tim

It will likely be incremental, like the carbon in the batteries and the slow removal of cobalt. Before too long, we’ll see some mixture of solid state and traditional batteries to increase acceleration and regenerative breaking performance. As they became more popular, they’ll become less expensive and then cars will be made with only solid state batteries. It’ll start on the halo cars first.

Vexar

I see. Like the SSD. hard drive mixes in laptops today? Interesting. Yeah, battery breakthrough isn’t like the Kool-Aid man busting through a wall with a pitcher of watered syrup claiming to be a new Berry Blast formula. I do wonder how battery research is done, however. Are there chemistry simulators or is it trial and error?

Matthew Kennel
By the time there are accurate simulators, the technology has to be well-developed, understood and standard. At the research stage of new chemistry & materials, it’s highly experimental. It’s almost like biology—some experiments may be unreplicable because of unknown factors in the materials preparation and construction. I don’t believe the scientists fully understand even standard lithium ion battery dynamics at a detailed level sufficiently well to be predictive, hence all the magic electrolyte soups that have profound influence on performance and longevity. As far as breakthrough, the NantEnergy zinc-air looks to be real. It’s been in development since 2009 coming out of university, with ARPA-E grants, and deployed in-use installations. Not at the level for vehicles but possibly for energy storage. Lithium ion is still probably better for fast current demands, i.e. vehicles and grid frequency balancing, but hours-days long storage may need to be cheaper more than it needs to be efficient. You might have overproducing solar panels with very inexpensive marginal electric energy in the morning/weekend and need it at peak evening hours. Zinc-air probably can’t take sudden current demands like lead-footed drivers. oh yeah, a bit of vodka in the oven cleaner can make a good electrolyte… Read more »
Doggydogworld

NantEnergy has been selling their zinc air battery to cell tower operators and remote villages since 2011. There’s a reason it didn’t take over the bulk storage market.

antrik

For long-term storage, some sort of flow battery is a much more likely contender I believe.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Are there chemistry simulators or is it trial and error?”

Both. Researchers (at least the better funded ones) use chemistry/physics simulation software to identify potential chemistries and designs, then they have to move to trial and error of actual prototypes to see how they function in reality.

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” — Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut

antrik

I don’t think it like we will see a mix of cell types. Mixing expensive solid state cells with cheap other cells would save significant costs only if the solid state portion is much smaller — but I don’t see a small portion of solid state offering meaningful advantages.

(If you are concerned about acceleration/regen, you’ll more likely want to add some super-capacitors.)

antrik

Part of the problem is that most likely there won’t be a single big breakthrough that suddenly makes solid state batteries practicable: rather, it requires a whole lot of painstaking individual improvements. I don’t think this is very likely to come together at some small startup…

Dam

Sakti3 was rumored to be scammy since a while

stimpacker

Yup. Like Theranos.
Hyped up by a CEO perceived to be charismatic.
Too much media attention on the CEO and not enough on the tech.

Vexar

No, that’s the villain in the Avengers movie.

zzzzzzzzzz

Reminds of certain automaker..
(Running into hiding from a crowd of foaming mouth fanboys with pitchforks 😉

Pushmi-Pullyu

Via Motors? 😉

Mint

Except that certain automaker actually built stuff for 10 years, and currently sells over $6B of product per quarter.

But that’s just minor details. Otherwise identical to Sakti3…

ModernMarvelFan

Dyson was stupid to pick it up in the first place. GM dumped a lot of money in Sakti3 for years and finally dumped it for LG battery instead. That should have been a warning sign for others.

TJKR

Ha! Dyson vacuums are 3-4x the price of regular vacuums and thier sucking power is only marginally better. Does this mean the cars will be similarly over priced? Probably. I can tell you the Dyson car will certainly suck.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

It’ll be the best performing electric car you’ve ever bought…until it breaks 3 months later.

Prsnep

Who’s selling inexpensive electric cars?

Pushmi-Pullyu

In China, SAIC is. According to Clean Technica, the SAIC Wuling E100 is priced “As low as RMB 35,800 ($5,650) after Chinese subsidies!”

But as you know, in first-world countries… not so much, if we’re talking about street-legal, highway-capable EV passenger cars.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/01/29/cheapest-electric-cars-available-comparisons-thoughts/

antrik

That’s no longer true, since subsidies on sub-100 km EVs were cut.

Pre subsidies, *some* of the Chinese models seem to have quite attractive prices compared to what’s available elsewhere (if ignoring quality etc.) — but still far more expensive than combustion cars…

Speculawyer

I love my Dyson vacuum. Sucking power? Whatever. I like the fact that it is bagless. I have to vacuum up a lot of dog hair and it’s great that I can just dump the dirt in the garbage can. It’s also got clever things such as clear parts so you can see where a clog is and you can take it apart and clean the various parts.

Jan

After Bosch the second one who stopped investing. Even though all these start ups which were baught by large companies had working prototype cells in their labs. The main reason why such projects are stopped is that they do not see a competitive market for the foreseeable future. A mass product doesn’t need to be functional, at first it needs to be cheap. I assume that the achievable sticker price solid state battery, the amount of cells which would be producable with the Sakti3 approach the foreseeable technology and the production yield and subsequently the achievable profit margin leads to a business case which is not cood enough to continue it.
There are currently no solid state battery powered products on the market which power more than a microAmpere chip. No wearables nor other mobile devices. Even if someone comes along with a working and mass producable solid state battery packs, we would habe heard of roumors that factories are being build to mass produce them. This still needs some years for prototypes and hypercars and some more additional years for real mass production.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I think a more important point is that it’s almost certain the first place we will see commercially produced solid-state batteries is in consumer electronics, such as high-end cell phones and laptops, where a single (let’s say) 0.1 kWh cell could justify a cost in the range of hundreds of dollars. With demand as high as it is for cellphones and laptops with batteries whose charge would last a week or more, there’s no reason any battery maker would sell to a market (the EV market) which is aiming for $100/kWh batteries.

I’m pretty sure we’ll have years of advance warning before we ever see solid-state batteries in EVs. The idea that there will be some sort of stealth development, such as solid-state batteries in the next-gen Tesla Roadster, is IMHO not a realistic scenario.

antrik

Some start-ups are claiming to be shipping low volumes for aerial drones… In these niches, price is not actually the limiting factor — it’s various technical limitations that solid state battery makers are still struggling with.

TJKR

Poor old Jim Dyson. We went to the Sakti3 labs and found out their “solid state” battery was just a potato with two nails and some wire. He figured it’ll require a 1,000,000 potatoes to power his car and that is simply not profitable.

Vexar

I feel like that was a MythBusters episode.

Model3er

“so we don’t have any solid updates to share at this time.” Funny.

Andrew

The state of the solid state battery is in a right old sorry state at the minute. It was stated the state the solid state was in was not a solid state at all ,stating the obvious. You can’t overstate stating silly solid state was a mistaken date for Dyson :-/

Pushmi-Pullyu

That’s quite a statement, but are you sure your state of knowledge is state-of-the-art? 😉

Dave86

EEStor… Envia… Satki3… A123 Systems…

Well, A123 Systems is still alive, I think. Sort of. The others seem to have bit the dust.

Pellion Technologies was doing work with magnesium ion, but they’re still around doing work with lithium ion…

… then there’s Dr Goodenough’s effort…

ModernMarvelFan

survival of the fittest..

That is how startup in si valley works. For every one successful company, there are hundreds if not thousands that died early…

zzzzzzzzzz

Real companies are still working on SS and are likely to reach commercialization, it is just matter of time (not this decade).

Startups are often the same as this one and not just in batteries. Hype, pump, extract as much of gullible investor money as possible, deal with consequences later. It is how Silicon Valley works.

Pushmi-Pullyu

A bit disappointing, but hardly any surprise; this outcome was predicted by many, including yours truly. I would have been very happy to have been proven wrong!

It’s too bad that Dyson got sucked in (pun intended) by one of the hundreds of wild claims for the Holy Grail of breakthru battery tech that have been seen over the past decade or so. This is sadly another example of “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

“The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies. The storage battery is one of those peculiar things which appeals to the imagination, and no more perfect thing could be desired by stock swindlers than that very selfsame thing. … Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery it brings out his latent capacity for lying.” — Thomas Edison, 1883

Pushmi-Pullyu

And a more recent quote:

“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technologies, please send us a sample cell, okay, don’t send us PowerPoint. Just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats; that would be great. That… sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true. Talk is super cheap; the battery industry has to have more B.S. in it than any industry I’ve ever encountered. It’s insane.” — Elon Musk, Nov. 5, 2014

antrik

A mere 135 years later, people are installing actually working storage batteries in large numbers 😉

Pushmi-Pullyu

Hmmm, well okay, I thought Edison was talking about improvements in secondary (rechargeable) batteries, but I see lead-acid batteries were not mass produced until 1886, so perhaps you’re right.

However, in later years, Edison is credited with inventing the alkaline battery (patented in 1901), which he tried to sell as a better battery for the early EVs of the era. But they proved to be problematic, sometimes developing leaks and failing to hold a charge. Altho the Edison Battery was initially a commercial failure, an improved version did find a niche market outside use in EVs.

https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/edison-battery

antrik

It was actually a different chemistry (nickel-iron) than today’s zinc-manganese alkaline cells. The only thing they seem to have in common is the alkaline electrolyte…

TkO

So DMC is going with 2170s? 🙂

noleaf4me

Battery breakthroughs will continue to happen — so much R&D is being done on them today — advancement is inevitable.

Rolando

Toyota was most advanced in SS-Battery tech some years ago and postponed their mass production from 2020 to 2022 or later.

BMW is also planning for SS-B from 2025 onward, and VW is planning for 2025 first models and 2030 most of their EV with SS-B.
Main SS-B advantage is safety and up to 3 times KWh per volume.

According to the short statement above : Dyson seems to only have made a financial write-down of their Sakti3 investment of $90 million down by $60m – so only $30m value in their books now, a financial procedure not giving up on SS-B technology. .

antrik

That’s what I wanted to point out as well: this article — and especially the title — seems to be seriously misrepresenting the situation.

SJC

Sakti could be good for phones but may not be cost effective for EVs.

krona2k

They’re probably hoping to use SS batteries in their vacuum cleaners first. They recently announced they aren’t developing any more corded vacuum cleaners.