Vacuum Magnate Dyson Invest in Solid-state Battery Plant

James Dyson tells Forbes that he will spend $1.4 billion over the next five years to build a battery factory and push battery technology forward, theoretically eclipsing Tesla’s existing tech.

The commitment is a risky bet for Dyson and his namesake company, which he owns in full. To get a sense of why, consider Dyson’s most notable major investment in batteries so far: The acquisition last year of solid-state battery startup Sakti3. That company’s batteries have still only been demonstrated in the lab, and some have even questioned whether its promises will ever be fulfilled.

The immediate obstacle is cost. Experts speaking to Forbes estimate that even a modest vacuum cleaner battery produced using solid-state technology would currently cost $2,000. At the time of the Sakti3 acquisition, Dyson said his company would invest up to $1 billion on a factory to bring production of solid-state batteries to scale and, at least theoretically, push the cost down.

Sakti3 has previously claimed its technology could store energy at nearly twice the density of the lithium-ion formulation used in Tesla’s batteries.

Of course, there’s a long chain of contingency between a vacuum maker investing in experimental battery tech, and putting a better battery in a production vehicle. For one, Dyson is clearly focused on small rechargeable electronics. Then there’s the very real possibility that solid-state won’t pan out at all—which is why Tesla has stuck with the tried and true lithium-ion, for all its limitations. – Forbes

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