A relatively new commercial battery company with expats from Tesla, SpaceX, Amazon, and Faraday Future wants to put an end to searching for wall outlets with a new power brick called Saber. Saber is a 2.2-pound portable lithium-ion battery with 86 watt-hours of power (roughly 23,000mAh), meaning it can fully charge a laptop twice, a phone up to 10 times, and can easily handle things like drone or DSLR batteries. It’s available for preorder starting today for $199, and will retail for $299 starting in November.
The Saber battery, which is about the size and shape of a water bottle, has outlets on each end of its rectangular form. On one side there’s a USB Type-C and two regular USB ports (one 2.1A/10.5W, one 1A/5W). On the other is a variable AC outlet with a universal port, meaning you can plug into this just like you were plugging into a regular wall outlet. The whole thing charges back up in two hours. And it is just under the limit on capacity to still be allowed on a plane.
Romeo Power is also aiming to have it rated IP67 dust and waterproof, though the company admitted it hasn’t finished certification yet. But it’s supposed to be very rugged; the company says Saber has survived at least dozens of serious drops onto concrete with little to no damage.
Of course, it’s 2017, so Saber’s also got Bluetooth. It helps the battery connect to a smartphone app, which can show how much juice is left, and can send you a notification when things are fully charged (including the battery itself).
Romeo Power, which is based in Los Angeles, has until now been publicly focused on commercial partnerships for larger battery systems. It buys batteries from the biggest makers (like LG or Panasonic) and repackages them into systems that can be used in everything from drones and robotics, to golf carts and electric vehicles. And the team thinks that knowledge can go a long way to making consumer batteries like Saber better, but also safer.
Dion Isselhardt, Romeo’s chief product officer, says the team decided not to use vents to keep the battery cool, since they could let in moisture and dust. Instead, he says the company’s knowledge of material science, thermal management, and the chemistry of the cells being used will keep everything in check. “If something comes up, it’ll do the proper things.” (The team wouldn’t go into exact detail, but implied that it dissipates some heat out each end cap to keep things cool.)
If something goes really wrong, which it shouldn’t, Isselhardt says there are two software and two hardware “gates” that should prevent the Saber from overheating. The battery has a built-in inverter, the battery management system’s software will also keep things in check, and then if those should fail, he says, there are two resistors that will pop to stop any thermal runaways. “These have a lot of energy stored in them, and you need to build them properly so they’re safe for users to use,” Isselhardt says.
“A lot of the principles that go into the design of a [bigger] battery pack, like the different materials, the lightweightedness, the energy density, the battery management system... it really translates from one product to the other quite well,” CEO Mike Patterson says. “And this is the reason we formed this company, for this particular product.”