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Breakthrough lithium battery charges to 90% in just 5 minutes

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December 13, 2007

Toshiba's SCiB Super Charge Lithium ion Battery

Toshiba's SCiB Super Charge Lithium ion Battery

December 13, 2007 Toshiba have stunned the world with their announcement of what's pretty much the holy grail in Lithium battery technology – the Super Charge ion Battery, which recharges up to 90% of its energy in just five minutes, and has a lifespan of over 10 years. Slow charging has been the key hurdle to public acceptance of battery-electric vehicles as viable distance travelers, so this breakthrough has all sorts of implications for the automotive industry as well as being a very welcome upgrade to a whole host of other portable devices.

The first of Toshiba's groundbreaking SCiB packs will ship in March 2008 to an industrial systems market that Toshiba forecasts being worth 100 billion Yen by 2015. There's no mention of when the technology is likely to hit the consumer market, but with such rapid charging ability, ultra-long life and high resistance to rupture and combustion, the SCiB looks like the first of a new generation of battery cells that will allow electric vehicle drivers to top up their cells in nearly the same amount of time a petrol vehicle takes to fill.

To this end, Toshiba is working on a high-performance version of the SCiB targeted at the automotive industry.

The development of high-powered, long-lasting, rapid-charge battery cells offers the automotive industry a simple and extremely efficient alternative to Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, whose competitive advantage thus far lies in their ability to refuel in a similar manner to petrol-powered cars. Batteries, it can be argued, are much more energy-efficient, delivering as much as three times more power from the electricity grid to the wheels as fuel cell vehicles are able to.

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About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain
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2 Comments

With batteries like this being developed we\'re going to have to look at charging stations that can handle the incredible current it will take to fast charge a car. Taking a hypothetical example, say a car has a 48 volt, 20 KW motor that could drain the battery in two hours at 20 KW (about right for cruising at highway speeds). This would need a battery of 833 amp hours. To charge that to 80% (666 A-Hr) in 5 minutes would require a charger of 48 volts and 8,000 amps ! Now put 4 cars in the service station and you\'ll be taking down the grid unless it\'s re-designed. We\'re looking at 1.5 MEGAWATTS in this example! Even if my guess is out by a factor of 2 or 3 there\'s still an issue.

warren52nz

Duh. Charge up ultracapacitors steadily, and dump them into the batteries as they come in.

If you have a 50kwh ultracapacitor at 96vdc, and you connect it in parallel with a Ov(for comparison) 50kwh SCiB battery, your charge rate is limited by connector capacity. Welding cables will do.

The grid will be fine.

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