MIT Tech Review Lauds Sakti3′s Next Generation Battery Technology

4/20/11Follow @xconomy

If you haven’t heard about Ann Marie Sastry by now, then maybe you’ve been spending too much time (and money) pumping gas into your internal combustion engine.

The University of Michigan professor has won plenty of kudos and cash for her efforts to develop a solid-state lithium ion battery for next generation electric cars. Her startup, Ann Arbor, MI-based Sakti3, has attracted big-name investors like General Motors, Beringea, and Khosla Ventures.

Now Sastry can add one more coat of gloss to her already bright star. MIT Technology Review named Sastry’s battery as one of the year’s top ten emerging technologies.

In its May/June issue, the publication says Sakti3 could revolutionize electric cars by packing more energy into a battery that occupies much less space under the hood than existing batteries.

“If electric and hybrid vehicles are to account for more than a small percentage of vehicles on the road, cheaper and better batteries are needed,” Stephen Cass, special project editor at MIT Tech Review, said in a statement. “Sakti3 could deliver the needed breakthrough by focusing on ways to economically mass-produce a new type of battery-a so-called solid-state battery-that can safely store more energy than a traditional lithium-ion battery, which would reduce the cost of electric and hybrid vehicles and extend their range.”

In compiling its list, MIT Tech Review says it has just one criterion: “is the technology likely to change the world?”

That seems fitting since Sastry likes to think globally.

I had the chance to size her up at Xconomy’s Michigan 2031 forum last week in Detroit. Beyond her obvious intelligence and poise, what struck me most about Sastry was her confident embrace of big ideas and big ambitions.

Whether it’s Midwest modesty or the weak economy, Michigan today seems to lack visionaries who think world first and local second. Not so with Sastry.

“If you have world-class technology, then you find the best people to work with, people who know what the hell they’re doing because you know what the hell you’re doing,” Sastry told the forum. “If you’re good at what you do, then good people will want to join you. Don’t be afraid to look for world-class people.”

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