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How Will Toshiba's SCiB Battery Technology Impact EVs?

Posted 02-03-2009 at 01:06 PM by rbgrn
Tags batteries

Toshiba announced Monday in this press release the commercial release of the SCiB (Super Charge Ion Battery). The battery's selling points are that it can recharge to 90% capacity in less than five minutes, it's safe and it has a 10-year lifespan. It can also operate down to -30 celcius (-22F). This means that it would apply well to an Electric Vehicle type application, but is a five minute charge feasible for an EV?

One of the major roadblocks to widespread EV adoption is the "gas-up" factor. Consumers want the ability to be able to do a quick recharge when they are on the go. Finally, we have a battery which offers exactly that. It takes about five minutes to fill up a tank, so it could be said that the times are comparable. There is just one little problem with this. Physics.

Let's use a real production car for an example. Say for instance, we fitted a new Tesla Roadster with SCiB batteries. Could we actually perform a 5 minute charge? The Roadster's efficiency is reported as 133 Wh/km (4.7 mi/kWh). This means that fully refueling from a 300 mile drive would require around 63kWh of electricity. Multiply by .9 to get a 90% recharge (as Toshiba states is the 5 minute charge) and you have 56.7kWh. Multiply that by 12 to get the amount of kW required for a 5 minute charge. That's 680kW. Regardless of what you may know about electricity, that's a whole lot of it.

To actually feed the car 680kW, we need to select a usable voltage. The best that's commercially available right now would be 480v or actually 220v if it's household current. For the sake of argument let's choose 480v. The size of the wire to transfer the energy is dependent on how many amps are going to flow through it. Amps are just watts divided by volts, so when we apply this we get 1416 amps. Technicalities aside, the wire would have to be something like 0/8AWG or about 2 inches in diameter to feed the current to the vehicle. Is this any more or less safe than filling a car with gas yourself? I guess it's up to the engineers to tell us that.

Don't misunderstand. This battery really is a great thing, but there are serious infrastructure issues to using it. Just one car charging, even for 5 minutes, at 680kW is pulling the same amount of power as 144 homes with air-conditioning on (which is about 40 amps at 110v).

I believe it's possible to get proper electricity distribution infrastructure in place but it will require massive planning and cooperation between energy companies and energy distributors. The current substations just can't feed that kind of electricity right now, even for a small number of drivers.

I do believe though that this battery could be successfully used for a 1 or 2 hour quick charge. The numbers work out much better in favor of the existing power grids for that. While it doesn't necessarily solve the road tripper's issues of needing a 5-10 minute recharge every 200-300 miles, it will help the majority of EV skeptics in reassuring that a pure EV is fairly capable of delivering extended service without needing a full day of recharge time.

Without a published energy density, it's difficult to say if these batteries are light and powerful enough for every day EV use. Even so, they are a step in the right direction and could be fantastic for general use once the power grids can deliver the amps. Until then, we will have to depend on the plug-in hybrid to be the duct-tape helping hold the existing gasoline distribution networks together with the electric future.
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1.  Quote: Originally Posted by KiwiEV That sure got my attention. Nano-technology in lithium batteries. A normal sized car battery with that nano lithium would then hold around 30 times more power than good old lead. That technology alone would force the lithium battery makers prices right down. And the article said it's not far away from being a reality either. Not just a pipe dream. Can't wait! Im with you on that Kiwi, at the rate my mustang conversion (12mo so far and many more to go) is going, LA's will be obsolete so ill just go right to lithium (hate to scrap my racks, i just got the welding thing down). BTW i read thru your conversion, awesome job on that !! Posted 03-30-2008 at 06:38 PM by O'Zeeke
2.  Quote: Originally Posted by Technopete As a late response to the original blog, you really can have fast charge (5 mins) at home if you are prepared to pay for it. You would buy a second unit + power converters and the charging cable would operate at 3,000 volts requiring a low current and a thin cable with good insulation. The convertors would step up and down to the operating voltage required for an EV battery. The second unit would trickle charge from the home electric supply over some hours - preferably at cheap off-peak tariffs. Of course the cost with these batteries might be excessive. Roll on Eestor (if it ever happens). You could have a 5 minute recharge at home, but why would you want to? One possible reason could be that you are using your EV as a taxi, Then I could see a reason for going home for 5 minutes to recharge. But for most of us the point of a 5 minute recharge is that we could extend the range of our EV beyond the range of a single charge. The advice in the UK is to stop and have a 15 minute rest every 2 hours of driving, which could be an opportunity to charge the car. Most of the time we would charge at home, overnight, when we are not using the car. Greg Posted 03-31-2008 at 03:29 AM by gregsgarage
3.  Quote: Originally Posted by saab96 To me, this is the next step: http://news-service.stanford.edu/new...anowire-010908 Imagine getting 40 mile range from a battery pack that would easily fit in your spare tire compartment, or powerful laptops that easily run all day long on a charge. That really was impressive, i want see these in action and on the market soon! Posted 03-31-2008 at 10:42 AM by blastergti
4.  When you think about it, how long does it take to fill a car up with gas? I am guessing somewhere close to 5 min? So I don't see a problem with charging stations operating like gas stations do today. I drove a natural gas van for a few months, that took forever to fill and the range sucked. A 5min recharge and 200 mile range with these batteries would be better than the van I drove. Posted 04-01-2008 at 07:42 PM by heynow999
5.  Everyone needs to factor into the cost payback with the batteries sold to stationary off-grid use when they are no longer usefull for evs. Posted 09-11-2008 at 04:45 PM by sunworksco
6.  Quote: Originally Posted by DIY Electric Car Blogs Toshiba announced Monday in this press release the commercial release of the SCiB (Super Charge Ion Battery). The battery's selling points are that it can recharge to 90% capacity in less than five minutes, it's safe and it has a 10-year lifespan. It can also operate down to -30 celcius (-22F). This means that it would apply well to an Electric Vehicle type application, but is a five minute charge feasible for an EV? More... at home a 15 amp 115 Volt supply will give you 1725 Joules/second, therefore for 5 minutes you can supply 1725 X 60 X 5= 517500 Joules so what good is this to a person with a need for MegaJoules? A lot more than 5 minutes is needed. A car with 10Mj of these batteries still needs almost 97 minutes to recharge. A distinct case of "dangling" the carrot in front of the donkey I think!! Sure it's an improvement on lead acid batts. but not the Holy Grail of batteries. Posted 01-21-2009 at 08:30 AM by Ron Atkinson
7.  My 2 cents worth: According to the basic specs for the standard SCiB in the article, it has 4.2Ahr at 24v (100.8 Whr) at 2kg. The quote I've gotten for my EV was 144V 100Ahr (14.4KWhr) at 95kg. The same battery pack in SCiB would therefore be 285kg!! Isn't that a bit heavy for newer technology? Posted 01-21-2009 at 08:46 AM by GKnightBC
8.  Quote: Originally Posted by GKnightBC My 2 cents worth: According to the basic specs for the standard SCiB in the article, it has 4.2Ahr at 24v (100.8 Whr) at 2kg. The quote I've gotten for my EV was 144V 100Ahr (14.4KWhr) at 95kg. The same battery pack in SCiB would therefore be 285kg!! Isn't that a bit heavy for newer technology? The first iteration of lithium titanates are somewhere between NiMH and LifePo4 in the energy density department. It's not really seen as good enough as is for BEVs which is why Toshiba itself is avoiding pushing the batteries into that segment while they work on a next generation of them. However, if DIYers can get their hands on these things, it might be a better value than lead or LifePO4. I mean, if we're talking about a 10 year cycle life MINIMUM, then it might be the only pack you'd ever buy for your conversion. Posted 01-21-2009 at 12:05 PM by saab96
9.  Quote: Originally Posted by Ron Atkinson at home a 15 amp 115 Volt supply will give you 1725 Joules/second, therefore for 5 minutes you can supply 1725 X 60 X 5= 517500 Joules so what good is this to a person with a need for MegaJoules? A lot more than 5 minutes is needed. A car with 10Mj of these batteries still needs almost 97 minutes to recharge. A distinct case of "dangling" the carrot in front of the donkey I think!! Sure it's an improvement on lead acid batts. but not the Holy Grail of batteries. Consider 3-phase. 400 volts at 25 amps? do the math... By your same equation that gives 10kJ/s *60s = .6MJ *5min = 3MJ Still a little out, but a 10MJ charge would only take a little over 15 mins. Seperate your cells into seperate banks, then use 2 charge inputs, halve the time required, comes down to 7 mins, about the time required for me to drop 68L of gas in my car, wash the 'screen, pay and leave. Problem would be heat dissipation, but these are details that technicians can work out 3-phase is pretty common in most workshops (we have it in all ours), and at a small cost would be available at your house. V2G... plug the car into the house at night when the power cost rate is less and then draw off the vehicle during the day when demand is high, this would help regulate supply demand during a daily cycle. The older analogue power meters do run backwards when power goes the other way, so you would only be charged for the nett usage. What about parking buildings in town having the ability to supply power to your vehicle while you are at work, or shopping, or whatever, it would probably cost a premimum as the building needs to make money also, but it could be charged in much the same way as the space you are 'renting'. Posted 01-24-2009 at 03:59 AM by speedboats
10.  Just checked the plug rating at the shop, 400V @ 35A? Not a bad option if the charger can process it... Posted 01-26-2009 at 11:21 AM by speedboats
11.  Quote: Originally Posted by heynow999 When you think about it, how long does it take to fill a car up with gas? I am guessing somewhere close to 5 min? So I don't see a problem with charging stations operating like gas stations do today. I drove a natural gas van for a few months, that took forever to fill and the range sucked. A 5min recharge and 200 mile range with these batteries would be better than the van I drove. I see a problem with it. The power plants can not deliver that much peak power to charge up 6+ vehicles at once at that rate. Practically speaking it can't be done. It will black out the entire city block. It would, at best, be a one-at-a-time deal. You'd have to get in line like an automatic carwash. Posted 01-26-2009 at 01:23 PM by saab96
12.  sure, perhaps with todays setup, but what about infrastructure in 5-10 years time, as EV's move towards 15 - 20% total vehicles? And how many will need these charge stations, as most would likely pull off the grid at home at night when the unit cost is cheaper, it'd only be for extended range stuff... Posted 01-27-2009 at 03:02 AM by speedboats
13.  Some power companies do not give a lower rate at night. Posted 01-27-2009 at 04:56 PM by Coley
14.  OK, I am new here, but I think you just miss one very important point with the quick recharge option - that is regenerative braking (RB). At the moment really effective RB systems (like KERS in Formula 1) use super-capacitors. The limit to use it in normal battery hybrid cars was the current generated by the braking motor, that normal batteries couldn't cope with. If you take into consideration an in-wheel motor being able to deliver 1000 A in full braking (generator) mode, you will actually seldom need any normal brakes. Also in stop and go commuter traffic you will have seldom to recharge. Posted 02-07-2009 at 05:29 AM by gyronut Updated 02-07-2009 at 05:32 AM by gyronut
15.  I would like to give my spin on rbgrn's original post that start this thread. Using his Tesla numbers of 4.7 miles/kWh. Let's make a SCiB battery pack that goes 150 miles on a full charge, or 150 * .9 = 135 miles on a 90% charge. That would require 28.73 kWh of energy and give us 2 hours of 70 mph (highway) driving, which is the type of driving you'll be doing in order to really need rapid recharging. In a family of five, someone needs to use the restroom after two hours, so a five plus minute stop every two hours is not a big deal. 28.73 kWh / (5 min/60 min/hr) = 344.76 kW of power over a five minute time period will give us the necessary juice. At 480v, which level 3 recharging is that means we need 344,760 watts / 480v = 718.25 amps. Here's the kicker. Level 3 is not just 480v, it is three phase: (http://planet.betterplace.com/profiles/blogs/electric-charging-stations). That's just one reference, there are plenty of others stating the same fact. Therefore, we get to divide or required amperage requirement into three separate streams of electrons requiring 718.25 / 3 = 240 amps (Rounded up). Based on several sources Wikipedia seems conservative in the AWG ratings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_wire_gauge but given that a 5/0 AWG wire of 0.5165 inches per phase should do the trick. The closest cable I could find is a 4/0 AWG five conductor cable (three power, one neutral, one ground) at http://www.ramcorpwire.com/products.php?catname=Type%20W%20Portable%20Cables& cat=38&pg=5 and the whole cable is 2.55 inches in diameter. Just guessing that 5/0 is thicker than 4/0 by a factor 1.12 for the bare copper I simply factored that toward the whole cable and came up with a single 2.86 inch thick cable that would connect to your car. Several companies show pictures of level 3 chargers with much smaller cables, but they do not specify the amperage they can provide: http://www.avinc.com/media_gallery/images/ev_charging/ Elimination of 1 conductor for the 4/0 cable brings us down to an outer diameter of 2.18 inches or for 5/0 maybe about 2.45 inches. For the infrastructure issue, you only need these kind of stations on the interstates. And there you can close by produce the energy for wind, solar, geothermal, etc. With single industrial wind turbines being rated at 1.5-5 MW and solar, depending on the type crystalline, thin-film, or thermal: http://solarbythewatt.com/2009/03/09/solar-energy-land-area-efficiency-or-how-much-acres-per-mw-kwp-per-acre/ only requires 4.5-13.5 acres per MW. Add in a battery backup and you have a several MW microgrid: http://www.altairnano.com/profiles/investor/fullpage.asp?f=1&BzID=546&to=cp&Nav=0&LangID=1&s=0 &ID=11304 capable of providing power to a multi-pump electric gas station. Where it is possible this microgrid could even be tied into the tradtional grid for greater reliability. This is the future. Posted 02-03-2010 at 11:14 AM by kabalah70
16.  I dont think I need a 5 min recharge. One hour should be OK. But not 6-7 hours. As someone pointed out even with gas cars we dont fill the tanks fully (but there one can fill it anytime). So I guess Toshiba's contributions to Li battery technology are: 1) safety (but that already there with LiFePO4), 2) fast recharge (very good, regen efficiency is also improved), 3)power density - may be very much suited to HEV's. 4) Life - 6000 cylcles- theres an improvement- lifetime matches he life of the vehicle - Dont know why we are stuck with lead acid. With this battery I would have to buy a battery only once! I dont think energy density wise its a great improvement (we leave that to LiS batteries). Toyota would do well to replace their NiHM batteries with these LiIon batteries for their Prius PHEV..as would other HEV producers.. Posted 09-22-2011 at 11:23 PM by Ravishankar Updated 09-22-2011 at 11:40 PM by Ravishankar

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