The next generation lithium-ion batteries from a small start up called Sakti3 could offer twice as much energy density at the same price per kWh as current li-ion battery on the market.

Sakti3 is a small spin-off start up created from the partnership of the University of Michigan and General Motors.  The company was founded by U of M professor Ann Marie Sastry.  They are currently developing solid state batteries that could double the energy density of current cells on the market.

According to battery makers at the 2009 Automotive Research Seminar, li-ion will be the material of choice for the next two decades because you can't go any higher on the atomic table except for hydrogen.  If li-ion is going to stay around for awhile, battery developers must find ways to pack more power into each cell.

Sakti3 aims to double the energy density through technological advances that they will not discuss at this point.  But as Sastry said, "Lithium is a low atomic-mass material with a high voltage and new lithium technologies should be able to double energy density up to 140-220 Wh/kg."

The other factor holding li-ion back is costs.  According to Compact Power CEO Prabhakar Patil, "Already costs have come down by a factor of 14 in the past 15 years...They will come down more, but not as fast."

Costs may remain a hurdle, but Sakti3 claims there solid state battery packs twice the punch at the same costs as li-ions on the market today.  Therefore, you get twice as much power, at the same cost, with significant weight savings for the vehicle as a whole.

If Sakti3's claims turn out to be true, they could become a well know battery developer with leading edge capabilities and could guide li-ion technology for the next 2 decades.

Source:  Wards Auto (Login required)