Toshiba’s next-generation lithium-ion battery will allow ‘ultra-rapid’ recharge of electric vehicles to give them a drive range of 320 km in just 6 minutes.
The new technology offers a drive range that is “three times the distance possible with current lithium-ion batteries,” says the technology giant.
Toshiba say that their next generation 50Ah SCiB lithium-ion battery is a ‘game-changer.’ Image shows the prototype, dimensions 111mm x 194mm x 14.5mm. Credit: Toshiba
The lithium-ion battery
Millions of people use power from lithium-ion batteries every day. Their light weight, high energy density, and ability to recharge has helped them to find their way into our laptops, cell phones, and electric and hybrid vehicles.
A lithium-ion battery comprises: an anode, a cathode, a separator, electrolyte, and a positive and a negative current collector. Positively-charged lithium ions travel through the electrolyte from the anode to the cathode.
When they arrive at the anode, the lithium ions free up negatively charged electrons which create a charge at the positive current collector, giving rise to an electrical current.
This animation from the United States Department of Energy illustrates and explains the process.
New anode material
Toshiba’s game-changing step is possible thanks to a new material that doubles the capacity of the anode in their proprietary Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB).
In their current SCiB – which was launched in 2008 – the anode is made of lithium titanium oxide. This type, which Toshiba say has a good safety record and lasts for 10 years, is widely used in cars, buses, trains, power plants, and elevators.
The anode of the new generation SCiB is made of titanium niobium oxide. The new material has a crystal structure that stores lithium ions more efficiently.
A 50Ah prototype of the new generation lithium-ion battery has passed rigorous tests.
Toshiba say that the tests confirmed that the new SCiB retains more than 90 percent of its initial capacity after 5,000 cycles of charging and discharging.
The tests also showed that ultra-rapid recharging takes only 10 minutes in cold conditions, even at temperatures as low as -10°C.
The new battery also retains the “excellent safety and rapid recharging characteristics of the current SCiB,” say Toshiba.
“Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game-changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV,” says Dr. Osamu Hori, Toshiba’s Director of Corporate Research & Development.
Toshiba hope to bring the new lithium-ion battery to market during fiscal year 2019.
Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization funded some of the development.