General Motor's venture-capital arm has invested in battery company Sakti3, taking a stake for a second time in an electric vehicle oriented start-up.
GM Ventures and the venture arm of Japanese conglomerate Itochu have invested $4.2 million in the company, Sakti3 said Friday. GM Ventures invested $3.2 million, according to reports.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Sakti3 is developing next-generation lithium-ion batteries that are designed to be cheaper and extend electric vehicle driving range. Rather than using a liquid electrolyte like most rechargeable batteries today, Sakti3's batteries are solid-state devices, which would allow car batteries to hold more energy and improve safety, according to the company.
This is the second investment for GM Ventures, which was created earlier this year to help the auto giant tap into new auto technologies that could make their way into GM vehicles. In August, it took a $5 million stake in Bright Automotive, which designed a plug-in hybrid utility van.
"Our investment in Sakti3 gives us access to an innovative battery technology that has the potential to be a mainstream solution for electrically-driven cars and trucks of the future," Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures and one of the key GM executives behind the Chevy Volt program, said in a statement.
Development of the technology and manufacturing process behind Sakti3 was led by Professor Ann Marie Sastry in the University of Michigan's mechanical engineering department. Sakti3 was spun off from the university, and Sastry is its founder and CEO.
The company had raised $7 million from Khosla Ventures and Michigan-based Beringea. It also received a $3 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
In a statement, Sastry said the investment will help the company bring its batteries to market faster.