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Batteries that last twice as long coming to smartphones next year

Wouldn’t it be great if your phone could make it through a couple of days (heck, one day) without needing to be topped off? That could all change next year thanks to a company called SolidEnergy.

Those of you who can’t wait for a phone with a longer-lasting battery, check this out: a SolidEnergy battery the size of the one in an iPhone 6S would power it for twice as long. That’s also great news for anyone who thinks phones are still too big and heavy, since the same amount of battery power in current phones could be supplied by a battery half the size.

SolidEnergy’s batteries are different in several ways. One is that they use a super-thin metal foil for the anode that’s only 20% as thick as the anodes in current lithium batteries. The electrolyte is also different. It’s a two-part hybrid: a solid layer wrapped around the foil and a (get this) non-flammable liquid solution. Not only are the batteries more energy-dense, they’re also a lot safer.

And yes, SolidEnergy really is making these batteries. They’re not just demonstrating potential at this point, they’re ready to start manufacturing them and making money. SolidEnergy will actually turn out batteries by this fall, but they’ve been tagged for use in drones. Those lucky UAVs will be able to stay aloft twice as long as a result.

Next year, though, SolidEnergy says they’ll start producing smartphone batteries — and OEMs are chomping at the bit to get their hands on them.

After that, it’s on to two more products that desperately need better batteries: smartwatches and electric vehicles. Want a full-color Pebble that runs for a couple weeks on a charge? Or how about a new Nissan Leaf that can go 214 miles on a charge instead of just 107? SolidEnergy wants you to have them, too, and they think you will by 2018.

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