Michigan is leading the way to better, cheaper batteries

Dear Reader,

Cheaper, better batteries are often referred to as the holy grail for extending the range and bringing down the sticker price of electric vehicles.

And some recent media reports are suggesting that Michigan-based start up Sakti3 is getting closer to the goal.

In August, the company, a spinoff from the University of Michigan research and supported by General Motors among other investors, announced that it had produced lithium-ion batteries with double the energy density of batteries currently available.

“Such a battery could give us the first $25,000 mass-market electric car, with a driving range that would please most customers,” according to a glowing report in Fortune.

“It’s clearly a breakthrough – it’s a world’s best, made on a mass-production platform,” U-M Prof. Wei Lu said in the announcement. “It’s not either/or in cost and performance in batteries anymore – Sakti3 has both. They built a really high performance device on a really low cost platform – like building millions of high end processors in a factory that produces ordinary plastic wrap. It was quite a scientific feat.”

The coverage in Scientific American was more cautious—“the battery industry has a proud, century-long tradition of overpromising and underdelivering,” they said.

But Sakti3's project is very promising, especially the introduction of solid-state technology to make the batteries safer and less expensive to produce. Check out Sakti3 CEO’s recent TEDxDetroit talk for a terrific explanation of their technology.

It’s hard not to believe Sakti3’s work will lead to important gains to the battery industry and the future of EV’s.  And perhaps even cell-phone battery life.  

Michigan is lucky to have them.

Thanks for all you do.

Charles Griffith
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center



Chevy Sonic - Photo from Green Car ReportsP.S. Our friends at Green Car Reports have reported exciting details about a new Chevy Sonic EV. Read all about it here. Our favorite part? "The new Sonic will be built on GM's next-generation 'Gamma' platform, known as G2SC, at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, 30 miles north of Detroit."

Photo: Chevy Sonic via Green Car Reports