James Dyson on portable energy, and the future of his company

The world has changed since batteries were only for flashlights and radios, and Dyson is more than just a vacuum cleaner company. The evolution of James Dyson’s eponymous company has been interesting to watch.

Cliff Kuang, for Wired:

Dyson isn’t intent on building more vacuums. He wants to build a full-blown technology company, one that reaches into our houses in ways you can only guess.

The first piece of that plan was investing in digital motors, which Dyson has hinted will be the basis of new product categories. And now the piece is falling into place: Today, Dyson announced a $15 million investment in Sakti3, a solid-state battery company. That is in addition to $50 million Sakti3 already has raised from Kholsa Ventures, General Motors, and others. “I saw this for decades as a company that would invest in fundamental technologies,” Sir James says. “This is a transition into being a technology company.”

And batteries are essential to that transition. “Solid-state batteries are a bit of a holy grail,” says Mark Taylor, Dyson’s R&D chief. He calls Sakti3’s technology “world-beating.”

Some marketing bluster, maybe — we’ve heard similar noises coming from Tesla lately, you’ll recall. But, as the saying goes, there is no Moore’s Law for batteries, so any breakthrough in portable energy has the potential, as the article puts it, “to reset entire industries.”