Dyson targets battery technology with $1 billion investment

Dyson, the British company most known for its innovative vacuum cleaner designs, is planning to re-invest higher than expected profits derived from success in the Asian markets - most notably China - to boost investment into new longer-lasting batteries.

Dyson's success in 2015 was based upon battery-powered purifiers, fans and vacuum cleaners, with Asia contributing a 20 per cent to the rise in profits. This surge was thanks to a tripling of revenues in the Chinese market, which overtook Europe to become Dyson's biggest market and drove its business growth in 2015.

Dyson has had a keen eye on battery technology for some time and acquired Michigan-based solid-state battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million last October. Back then Dyson announced plans to build an important $1 billion battery factory to mass produce the next generation battery technology. This was the second such acquisition in 2015 as the company also bought Seeo Inc. to bring its battery technology to market.

Solid-state batteries are thought to be a lot safer than common lithium-ion cells and could have more potential for higher energy density. Sakti3 made the headlines last year when it announced that it had produced a solid-state battery cell with 400 Wh/kg energy density, compared to Tesla’s cells believed to be around 230 Wh/kg.

Dyson had already invested $15 million in Sakti3 before now buying the company. Dyson says for now the plan is to integrate the technology into its cordless vacuum cleaners. The company expects to start producing its systems with the new batteries within a year or two.

The Dyson company, which is owned by founder Sir James Dyson and his family, plans to invest £1 billion in battery technology over the next five years.

Credit: Flickr / ジェイ。Sō