Toshiba Claims Battery Breakthrough: 6 Minute Ultra Rapid Recharge

4 weeks ago by Mark Kane 36

Toshiba Develops Next-Generation SCiB Lithium-ion Battery with New Anode Material

Ok, we know, you have heard this one before…but let’s start up the band anyway!

Toshiba has announced its next-generation SCiB lithium-ion batteries with a new anode material – titanium niobium oxide, that apparently doubles the capacity of the anode of current SCiB.

Prototype of 50Ah next-generation Toshiba SCiB

The prototype 50 Ah cells can be recharged in about 6-minutes.

According to the graph above, a 6-minute charging would enable one to drive three-times further (320 km / 199 miles in JC08) than using a typical lithium-ion batteries (using a 32 kWh battery).

Toshiba said that the new SCiB also retains a long life cycle, low-temperature operation, excellent safety and rapid recharging characteristics of the current SCiB.

Over 90% of capacity is said to be maintained after 5,000 charge/discharge cycles ,and ultra-rapid recharging can also be done in cold conditions, with temperatures as low as minus 10°C, in only ten minutes.

So outside of the density today, its perfect…the only other thing not discussed unfortunately, is the cost per kWh (the main criteria behind the mass adoption of any new battery tech over another), of which could prove to be the most serious stumbling block – so there might be a couple hiccups.  Developments are ongoing, as commercialization is planned for fiscal year 2019.

“Toshiba Corporation, an industry leader in lithium-ion battery technology, today announced the development of its next-generation SCiBTM, which uses a new material to double the capacity of the battery anode. The new battery offers high- energy density and the ultra-rapid recharging required for automotive applications, and will give a compact electric vehicle (EV) with a drive range of 320km* after only six minutes of ultra-rapid recharging—three times the distance possible with current lithium-ion batteries.

Toshiba launched the SCiBTM as a safe, long-life, fast charging lithium-ion battery in 2008. Since then, the company has constantly refined the technology and improved real-world performance. For its next-generation SCiBTM, Toshiba has developed a titanium niobium oxide anode material that has double the lithium storage capacity by volume of the graphite-based anodes generally used in lithium-ion batteries.

The new battery also offers high energy density and ultra-rapid recharging characteristics, and its titanium niobium oxide anode is much less likely to experience lithium metal deposition during ultra-rapid recharging or recharging in cold conditions—a cause of battery degradation and internal short circuiting.

Toshiba’s current SCiBTM employs a lithium titanium oxide anode, and is known for excellent operating characteristics in respect of safety, long life and rapid charging. It has found wide use in vehicles and industrial and infrastructure applications, including automobiles, buses, railroad cars, elevators and power plants. The high energy density of the battery, and its rapid recharging, have made important contributions to enhancing the convenience and promoting the spread of EV.

Building on this heritage, Toshiba has developed a proprietary method for synthesizing and disarranging crystals of titanium niobium oxide and storing lithium ions more efficiently in the crystal structure. The anode of the next-generation SCiBTM realized through this approach has double times the capacity of the anode of current lithium-ion batteries.”

“Rigorous testing of a 50Ah prototype of the new battery has confirmed that it retains the long life cycle, low-temperature operation, excellent safety and rapid recharging characteristics of the current SCiBTM. The energy density by volume of battery is twice that of the current SCiBTM. The next-generation SCiBTM maintains over 90% of its initial capacity after being put through 5,000 charge/discharge cycles, and ultra-rapid recharging can be done in cold conditions, with temperatures as low as minus 10°C, in only ten minutes.

Toshiba will continue to develop higher energy density batteries that extend the range of EVs and support ultra-rapid recharging, and aims to commercialize the next-generation SCiBTM in fiscal year 2019.”

Dr. Osamu Hori, Director of Corporate Research & Development Center at Toshiba Corporation said:

“We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiBTM. Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiBTM into practical application in fiscal year 2019.”

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36 responses to "Toshiba Claims Battery Breakthrough: 6 Minute Ultra Rapid Recharge"

  1. Ambulator says:

    The old SCiB were getting priced out of the car market already, and niobium will make these even more unaffordable for the average car, although for hyper expensive items like a Rimac it would be a good choice. It also has other potential uses, like medical implants or ICE starter batteries, where high power or long life is more important than cost.

    Niobium is in even higher demand than cobalt, and is slightly less abundant in the Earth’s crust. It’s going to take a fair amount to improve battery energy storage.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      SCiB is also great for buses. It’d be great for semi trucks, too, if we ever wise up and installed dynamic charging on our highways.

      I agree cost is likely to rule out consumer EVs. Specific energy, which isn’t mentioned, is likely to be another problem.

      1. Mint says:

        PHEVs could use it, too. A high performance 15 kWh PHEV charging at 100+ kW would be very cool.

        Toshiba should really scale this down to circuit component size. They’d easily fetch $1 for 0.1 Wh, i.e. $10,000 per kWh.

      2. savuporo says:

        In fact, any heavy battery powered equipment would benefit. For those segments, the initial capital expenditure is easier to justify if the total operations cost works out to be lower

  2. trackdaze says:

    So you mean I don’t have enough time to plug in walk over to the cafe, order, sit down, look at what new whole the 🍊 One has dug for the US go to the restroom and back?

    I need at least 20mins for those rare occasions I’m not charging at home.

    1. SCOTT says:

      Yeah, and you better be back soon enough to move your car when it is done charging. Or else….

      1. M Hovis says:

        In the not so distant future, the car will move autonomously.

        1. Paul Smith says:

          Then a hacker will steal it.

          1. bogdan says:

            The hacker would rather steal your bank accout than your car…

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I’ll give this hi-tech battery breakthru claim a lot more credibility than most. Toshiba is a major corporation with a solid reputation, and 2019 is only two years away. That’s a much nearer goal than the usual “we can develop this in five years… if you throw enough money at us” that we usually see from hi tech battery startups.

    1. Al says:

      Fiscal 2019 is 1 year away.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Not to weigh into the discussion, but just as a 411 note, fiscal year 2019 in Japan runs from April 1st 2019 through March 31st, 2020.

  4. WARREN says:

    AND the drawbacks? Weight? Density?

    1. Ambulator says:

      The key parameters, other than cost, are specific energy and energy density. As with most battery cell announcements, Toshiba is being coy about the actual figures. What they do say that these have twice the energy density as they would without niobium, but that still would leave them at one half to two-thirds the energy of the cells that Panasonic provides to Tesla.

  5. Martin T. says:

    Looks promising as long as life cycle amount is not effected in anyway.

  6. Derek says:

    Drawback is cost/availability of Niobium. The last I heard there is a very limited amount on the world and it is in high demand for such things as powerful magnets and high strength aluminum alloys and more. Agree with Ambulator.

    1. savuporo says:

      Thats why we want to mine the asteroids

    2. arne-nl says:

      It is actually pretty common. More available in the Earth’s crust than for example lead, tin or molybdenium.

  7. fotomoto says:

    YABA. Yet Another Battery Announcement.

  8. K A Cheah says:

    IF NIOBIUM IS RARE AND EXPENSIVE WHY NOT REPLACE NIOBIUM WITH GRAPHENE WHICH COULD BE MADE FROM METHANE OR GRAPHITE IN THE ANODE COMBINATION OF TITANIUM GRAPHENE OXIDE INSTEAD ???

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      BECAUSE GRA… *ahem*

      Well, let’s see:

      1. Graphene has proven to be too expensive to manufacture in industrial quantities, at least so far. I keep hoping there will be a breakthrough on that front, but it’s been some years now and no significant progress, so it must be a very hard problem.

      2. Why would you want to use methane to make graphene? Any source of carbon, such as charcoal, would do. Heck, in theory you could pull it out of the air; use CO2 as the source. Seems to me that using methane (natural gas is mostly methane) would be quite wasteful of resources.

  9. seth says:

    This is a great successor to the original SCiB that was used in the i-MiEV in Japan. For comparison, you get just 10kWh in the same space as a normal Li-Ion 16kWh. But you can charge at 5C which is double the 2.2C rate of the 16kWh battery.

    The Lithium Titanate batteries are very durable and also a lot more tolerant of low temperatures. So there is definitely space for this battery and applications.

    If you need power but don’t have particularly large energy requirements these are quite good. 5C charge rates and 10C discharge is double most common other chemistries.

    1. Martin Winlow says:

      I must say I was very impressed with the battery in my i-MiEV. Rapid (DC) charging was very quick and long trips really quite painless as long as you approached it with a relaxed attitude to time (and planned it well enough, of course). The last trip I did in it I drove it the 500 miles from London to Oban in Scotland.

  10. Cavaron says:

    So, lets do the math: They say, they can charge 32kWh in 6 Minutes. That’s a 320kW charger.

    Porsche will have 350kW chargers (and Musk called them a childs toy compared to what they are working on).

    So the only advantage I see, is that you can charge a small battery (40kWh) to 80% (32kWh) without reducing the battery health too much.

    Tesla and Porsche will also be able to charge 32kWh in less than 6 minutes, just on cars with bigger batteries. And since batteries tend to get cheaper and cheaper, I really don’t see that much benefit in the SCIB, unless they are equally priced with at least the same density.

    1. Martin Winlow says:

      Surely the principle advantage is that you can get by with smaller battery packs because they take so much less time to charge, thus your overall driving time is a bit less but the car cost is considerably so.

      1. JakeY says:

        The problem is that these don’t cost less than the larger capacity packs because the $/kWh of these are poor (partially due to the same reason why it has poor energy density: it needs more material per kWh).

        Tesla found out long ago that a strategy of a larger capacity energy optimized pack is better than a strategy of a smaller capacity power optimized pack. For the same cost/weight/size, you get more kWh and the same charging/discharging power (in kW).

  11. Martin Winlow says:

    You are all confusing niobium with neodymium. The latter is very rare (comparatively speaking) and the former is relatively common being ‘…the 34th most common element in the Earth’s crust..’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niobium).

    So, hoorah! – perhaps this development will ultimately put the final nail in the coffin of the myth that a/ EVs can’t be used for driving long distances and b/ they take so long to refuel compared to an ICEV.

    1. Some Guy says:

      Niobium is still way more expensive than graphite (which charges slower), and the 32 kWh battery pack they are proposing will be significantly more heavy than a current Leaf pack, possibly even more than a 60 kWh Bolt pack. So albeit technically fesible (at least in one lab prototype cell), which is quite an achievement, I do not see a mass market application aside from fancy luxury sports cars. (Could be interesting for Formula E.)

    2. Ambulator says:

      Niobium is only slightly less common than cobalt but it is less than half as common as neodymium (not used in batteries to my knowledge). So, no, I’m not confusing them.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundances_of_the_elements_%28data_page%29

      Abundances don’t tell you everything. Neodymium is hard to refine, being so chemically similar to the other rare earths. All three of them are in high demand, but I’m not sure which is the most crucial. Lithium, with about the same abundance as niobium, is much easier to refine and in less demand.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Abundances don’t tell you everything. Neodymium is hard to refine…”

        Thank you! That was my immediate question. Crustal abundance is nice, but more important is how often you find concentrations, and how hard or easy it is to refine. Crustal abundance doesn’t help much if you can’t find concentrations which are worth mining or, like lithium, worth refining by some other method.

  12. LS says:

    They should use these batteries in small amounts in a hybrid setup wih large conventionnal batteries. Like hypercapacitor.
    This would enable high regen for braking and extra boost for acceleration. This could fill the gap for track-ready, mass-market BEV.
    Just need electric motors that don’t overheat…

  13. Someone out there says:

    The breakthrough isn’t the charging speed, these are lithium titanate (LTO) batteries and they are known for fast charging. The disadvantage with LTO is the low energy density and that is what this breakthrough is about.
    This is a very interesting development if it holds up. Higher charging speed may compensate for shorter range, having only 150 miles of range probably isn’t much of a problem even on long trips if it only takes a few minutes to recharge.

  14. Carcus says:

    6 minute recharge time makes EVs practical for dense urban apartment dwellers.

  15. Albertito says:

    Year 2089 , toshiba invents the best SciB cell.The chemistry is (Gold-Titanium-Niobium-Silver-Galium-Tritium-Helium3-Plutonium-Uranium-Diamond-Emerald-Paladium-Rodium-Platinum).The new chemistry can recharge to it’s full capacity in 10 seconds , has a 3000C rate of discharge a columbic point of 99.99999% and an energy density of 590wh/kg , and 900.000 cycles to 99% at 1000C discharge rate.When chief engineer was asked by the journalist about the price of a 200kwh battery pack for a consumer like city car , the enginner said:-ok , so if nobody has more questions then the demonstration conference is over.

    XD

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      10 seconds? EV bashers will whine that’s not fast enough. :P~~

  16. Punk says:

    Nobody’s mentioned what kind of electrical distribution system will have to be put together to handle such fast charging.

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