Electric cars are here to stay, it seems, but they still are not practical for most of us. Automakers continue to advance the cause but have had to rely on the ingenuity of battery makers to extend the range and reliability of EV vehicles. One of these companies is Sakti3, who may be the key in helping General Motors driving-range practicality for the rumored 2017 Chevrolet Sonic EV.
Sakti3 is a a startup founded by Ann Marie Sastry, a former University of Michigan engineering professor. Green Car Reports mentions that it is one of two startup battery companies that has received investments from GM Ventures, the automaker’s venture-capital unit. This past August, Sastry indicated the development of its solid-state cell was close to doubling the energy density of the current lithium-ion cell batteries at just one-fifth the cost, which would help GM achieve $100/kWh for the upcoming Sonic EV.
The timing is fortuitous because, if the planets are aligned and everything works out, it will coincide with tougher MPG and carbon-emission rules in North America and elsewhere around the world. However, Green Car Reports indicates Sakti3 still faces challenges including “the cost of manufacturing and the yield it’s going to get,” according to Lux Research analyst Kevin See.
“It’s great to demonstrate a small battery in the lab,” See told Fortune magazine. “But making batteries bigger and making a lot of them is not trivial.”