Swatch Group chief executive officer Nick Hayek has a team of 50 working on producing new battery technology that will double current capacities with a commercial product ready for market in four years.
As well as revolutionising sectors such as electric cars, health care, communications and domestic applications, the next generation of batteries being developed by Hayek’s Belenos Clean Power, a company which he founded in 2007, have the potential to ensure Swatch Group has a major advantage when it comes to smartwatch battery power.
In a direct translation of an interview with Swiss magazine L’Hebdo earlier this year, Hayek explained that Belenos, which had originally been investigating both high capacity battery techologies and fuel cells, was now solely focused on developing the new batteries technology.
Hayek states that Belenos, which is controlled by Swatch Group and Hayek Engineering shareholdings, has developed a battery with double the capacity of current models and is working with Swatch Group-owned battery manufacturer Renata to bring it to market, having invested millions in a new production line.
Hayek told L’Hebdo: Renata makes more than a million batteries a day. "This proximity to expertise ensures continuity from the research stage to serial production via the development of a prototype. This synergy effect enables us to gain precious time because we have not to conduct endless negotiations with major battery producers. We’re in our own facilities."
Hayek claims a number of car manufacturers have already made approaches for the technology but he is cautious of entering into any agreement, following his father Nicolas’s problematic relationships with both Volkswagen and Daimler-Benz in the development of the Swatchmobile, a project that went on to become the Smart car brand.