A California-based startup company is looking to commercialize its solid-state battery chemistry, and now it's getting some help from a company you've likely heard of.

Seeo recently completed a $17 million round of funding that was led by Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation--the investment arm of the Korean industrial giant.

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The company's DryLyte design replaces the liquid electrolyte of traditional lithium-ion batteries with a solid polymer--which Seeo says is safer and provides potentially greater energy density.

In a typical battery, the cathode and anode are immersed in a fluid that acts as a medium for the transfer of ions.

2015 Nissan Leaf

2015 Nissan Leaf

In this "solid-state" design, the liquid is replaced with solid material that still has the necessary conductive properties.

The polymer is non-flammable, making this type of battery less volatile than the lithium-ion cells used in current electric cars.

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Seeo expects its batteries to make electric cars with 200 miles of range more common, while almost doubling battery life cycles.

The company plans to use the money from this latest round of investment to accelerate commercialization of this technology.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV - First Drive, Portland, July 2013

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV - First Drive, Portland, July 2013

Samsung of course has its own battery division, which recently worked with BMW to develop cells for the i3 and i8 plug-in cars.

It also manufactures cars with Renault that are sold in South Korea under its own brand. Those include the SM3 ZE, a rebranded version of the now-defunct Renault Fluence ZE electric car originally developed for the defunct Israeli startup Better Place.

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Solid-state battery technology has received some attention from General Motors.

Another startup marketing solid-state batteries--Sakti3--is rumored to be in the running to supply batteries for the 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Sonic EV.

However, solid-state batteries are still far from being ready for volume production, and promising lab results are no guarantee of real-world viability--or commercial success.

[hat tip: Joseph Dubeau]


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