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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.  To paraphrase one of the readers at the EVworld comments box below the article: This is bad news for A123 systems and worse news for Hydrogen supporters but GREAT news for people who want electric vehicles. (I might add that Oil companies should be very scared!) This is just what we (and the rest of the world) needs. Competition in the high-tech battery world! I think we'll all be dropping lead-acid for SCiB's or similar in the next 10 years. My only hope is that big oil don't buy out the rights to those batteries too. God knows they have the money to do it. Posted 12-13-2007 at 05:28 PM by KiwiEV
2.  With all the new lithium based batteries out there, you can only hope that the momentum is too great, and diverse for big oil to put the brakes on this technology too. I can't wait till the day when batteries like these are cheap, and plentiful, but of course you have to charge them, and most of the solar panels say BP (British petroleum, Shell, etc. right on them, Gee I wonder why they cost so much???? Here's hoping! Posted 12-13-2007 at 08:54 PM by houseoffubar
3.  I would love to get a 72 volt battery to try out. A couple hour charge time would fit in my setup just right. Who do ya call about trying one????!!!!! Posted 12-13-2007 at 11:44 PM by Coley
4.  The first question is what they're going to cost? Then how are you going to charge them in the real world? Would this sort of battery lend itself to interchangeable packs? Drive in to a 'petrol station' and just exchange your battery for one that's already charged. Cheers Don Posted 12-14-2007 at 01:00 AM by Don Gould
5.  Don, I think the idea here is that you don't have to exchange your battery. You drive to a charging station, plug in some massive cables and let your car charge for 5-10 minutes, then drive away 90-95% full. The three things I'd like to know about these batteries are what the energy density is, what the weight to energy ratio is and how much they are being priced out at. Posted 12-14-2007 at 08:25 AM by rbgrn
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... Well looks like I will DUMP the Chinese Made Thunder Sky and go Japanese Made SCiBTM. ... OH this is GREAT news .... Question, Why do WIVES take so long to get ready Posted 12-14-2007 at 04:52 PM by
7.  They left out one crutial piece of information here: energy density. Hydrogen fuel cells? I would be here all dat if I listed all the reasons why they are as big a scam as oil (hint hint). Lithium is the "fuel" of the future, the exact company, patent, or chemistry, that will dominate....?....well it hasn't arrived yet, but I give it no more than 5 years before, we have it, thing are starting to move very quickly with a new version of lithium power every year. In the mean time we can still built electric cars that can be upgraded later on, I'm sure big companies like toyota and GMC will hate us for building cars that could last a lifetime, but they can bite me. Posted 12-14-2007 at 07:52 PM by david85
8.  Quote: Originally Posted by david85 They left out one crucial piece of information here: energy density. Hi, I think the crucial unresolved issue is cost. I think its a safe assumption that if these were significantly less expensive than the existing alternatives they would have said do. There are several Li-Ion alternatives that are pretty good and way better than Lead Acid. The fast recharge time is very nice and the cycle life is extremely important but as long as they cost \$1,000 or more per kWh most of us won't be using them. Mitch Posted 12-15-2007 at 02:43 PM by MitchJi
9.  I agree, but cost can always be driven down, and I am assuming that they would not have pitched this battery for laptops unless they were confident that it would be profitable. \$1000/kwh is about the best price for high performance lithium polymer batteries right now, and in reality, it can be viable even at that price, remember where the price of fuel is going. If a battery can last some 15 years, then I would say that \$1000/kwh is reasonable, when you consider the lower operating cost, and maintenance. But untill they put their money where their mouth is, all I can do is speculate. Posted 12-15-2007 at 03:17 PM by david85
10.  Robert, I understood the issue, I'd jumped one step forward and decided that massive cables and 5 minutes would be problematic. A problem with conventional battery exchange is that you have to hold enough stock to consider that it could take 12? hours to charge the stock. With these new batteries it becomes viable to consider battery exchange as stock can be swapped out within 10 minutes. As for the energey density, etc, I 100% agree with you. Everything other than the price is on the manufactures web site. Cheers Don Posted 12-15-2007 at 07:00 PM by Don Gould
11.  I can tell you right now that people will not be willing to do a fuel-container swap type of program for a few reasons: 1) Unlike a propane tank valued at \$50, a lithium pack is valued at 25-50 thousand. That alone will make people not want any old pack put in their car especially if they have a new one. 2) It's not feasible to standardize on a size, shape and power of a pack. Different cars will have different requirements for all of these factors. 3) Packs are big and heavy. That alone will slow down the idea. Posted 12-16-2007 at 10:15 AM by rbgrn
12.  This battery technology is promising but has 2 major problems which can be solved. 1. Cost. Batteries are expensive and the problem that manufacturers have is that if they sell a car that only does 40 miles on a charge that would suit a lot of people as a second car but won't be of any good to someone who needs more range. If they sell a car that has a 200 mile range that would suit more people but then the problem is that the person that only needs a 40 mile range has just wasted money buying more batteries than he needs, and batteries are expensive. One solution would be to use a technology called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) were your vehicle would both recharge from and supply power to the local energy grid to help balance the load on the grid as required. Your vehicle would learn your driving patterns so that it wouldn't over supply the power grid when you need to drive and you can tell your vehicle about any longer trips you have planned. Follow this link for an example, http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...NESS/711230337 Now here is where we tackle the cost issue. Get the power company to buy the battery and lease it from them. Since they will be putting your vehicles battery to probably more use than you will they would bear most of the battery cost. If there are enough vehicles it could reduce the need for building new power stations and would provide a good storage method for solar and wind power. 2. 5 minute recharge. This option makes an all electric vehicle feasible as a replacement for a gasoline powered vehicle. The thing to remeber is that we don't need to recharge it in 5 minutes unless we are on a long journey. Most of the time we just plug in to the V2G system when the vehicle is parked and we are always ready to go. If we are going on a longer journey then a fast charging station can be used but we only need to put in enough electricity to complete the journey (maybe only a 30% charge for example) and then plug are car into the V2G system when we arrive. The fast charge stations would charge a premium for their electricity to cover the cost of the required infrastructure. Thats just my thoughts on the subject, Greg Posted 12-17-2007 at 05:45 AM by gregsgarage
13.  How much power do you lose with V2G? There's so many questions about that proposal that it's just not funny. Should power companies discount the power because they're using your batteries? Should you charge the company the same amount of money to supply power to them as they charge you for the power? What happens if the computer gets it wrong because you get a call from your wife saying you need to take an extended trip that afternoon and the power company has flattened your batteries? Sorry, but that one's not really a flyer for me. 200 Mile Range... I did have a very interesting conversation about this issue today with a friend. There's a host of reasons we want 200 miles in our tanks. We don't want to have to drive to a fuel station every day. You can't fill up your car at home or at work or while your car is parked in a car park. How many people actually keep their tanks full anyway? I know I don't. I'd be luck to have much more than 60 miles of range in my car most of the time. I also have to ask, if you can push 30 miles of charge in to your car in 5 minutes, how many people would want to stop for a 5 minute break with in that range if power was everywhere - which it is at present. Cheers Don Posted 12-17-2007 at 06:22 AM by Don Gould
14.  Quote: Originally Posted by Don Gould How much power do you lose with V2G? There's so many questions about that proposal that it's just not funny. Should power companies discount the power because they're using your batteries? Should you charge the company the same amount of money to supply power to them as they charge you for the power? All good questions. The main point though is that if we can share the costs of the batteries between the power companies and us everyone wins, we get a cheaper battery and so do the power companies. The batteries are utilized more and become more cost effective. Quote: Originally Posted by Don Gould What happens if the computer gets it wrong because you get a call from your wife saying you need to take an extended trip that afternoon and the power company has flattened your batteries? 5 minute recharge, remeber you only need to put in enough for your journey. Quote: Originally Posted by Don Gould 200 Mile Range... I did have a very interesting conversation about this issue today with a friend. There's a host of reasons we want 200 miles in our tanks. We don't want to have to drive to a fuel station every day. You can't fill up your car at home or at work or while your car is parked in a car park. But you could plug it in. Quote: Originally Posted by Don Gould How many people actually keep their tanks full anyway? I know I don't. I'd be luck to have much more than 60 miles of range in my car most of the time. I also have to ask, if you can push 30 miles of charge in to your car in 5 minutes, how many people would want to stop for a 5 minute break with in that range if power was everywhere - which it is at present. You have just stated that if you needed to make a journey of more than 60 miles you are prepared to stop and fill up with petrol. If you needed to make a 230 mile journey in an electric car with a 200 mile range then it follows that you would also be willing to stop for 5 minutes to get that extra 30 miles of eletricity. Cheers Greg Posted 12-17-2007 at 07:32 AM by gregsgarage
15.  Quote: Originally Posted by KiwiEV To paraphrase one of the readers at the EVworld comments box below the article: This is bad news for A123 systems and worse news for Hydrogen supporters but GREAT news for people who want electric vehicles. (I might add that Oil companies should be very scared!) This is just what we (and the rest of the world) needs. Competition in the high-tech battery world! I think we'll all be dropping lead-acid for SCiB's or similar in the next 10 years. My only hope is that big oil don't buy out the rights to those batteries too. God knows they have the money to do it. Agreeing with you!! =D This is going to revolutionize the EV world! And surely, many Auto makers (except the Ev ones) are biting their nails in this very moment! Now to the "problems"! I have read every post on the thread so far, and many worry about cost and energy density. My answer is: Dont worry - Now i guess you are confused, but i gonna explain! ^^, Remember when lithium polymer batteries were new? They were very expensive in the beginning, but slowly dropped in price, and as more companies started to manufacture these cells, competition raised and prices dropped faster. And during the same time, they got more powerful. Today we have some manufacturers to choose from, and "reasonable" prices compared to the beginning. (i know, they are not that cheap today either =) Here is an idea: Do anyone in here remember when you saw lipo´s online for the first time? And when were they available for you to buy? Do anyone have an idea what they cost in the beginning? If anyone might have prices and specs noted somwhere, post it, and let us compare! In that case, we might find out when we can see these on the web and how fast they may drop in price. One question still remain, and that is what these dynamites cost, i guess we have to wait, but i gonna search the web for everything i can find! If i come up with something, let say that i start a thread? /// Best regards! Blaster GTI! Posted 12-29-2007 at 01:54 PM by blastergti
16.  Hi, I really don't understand all the hype. First of all they have not even completed development of the version for EV's (not expected until 2010): http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/892.html It's important to read the reports carefully -- this battery will start with availability in 2008 for industrial applications! It sounds promising; we've excerpted several news stories -- the company spokesman is not directly quoted but says the version of this battery for deep-discharge automotive applications, which is still in the lab, could be ready around 2010. Secondly there are competing Li-Ion batteries that have the ability to do fast recarges (I think Altairnano did a demo in Norway). Beyond that taking advantage of fast recharge for EV's would require new infrastructure. Thirdly there are competing Li-Ion batteries that have very long life (Enerdel quotes 2k recharges to 90% DOD). Almost every EV conversion on the EV Album uses Lead Acid. The reason almost nobody is using Li-Ion is not recharge time or battery life. Its battery cost. The fact that Toshiba didn't mention price in their press release means it is safe to assume that these batteries are not less expensive than existing batteries. I think the main positive thing we can take from this is that a lot of companies are putting a lot of effort into improving batteries and eventually someone is going to come up with something that is good AND affordable. Mitch Posted 12-29-2007 at 03:08 PM by MitchJi
17.  Very nice that the problem of slow charges could be on its way to being answered. Another area where this battery outshines Li-Ion is that it does not contain any lithium. Lithium is a precious metal, and some experts (self proclaimed as they are) claim that the world does not possess enough lithium for the world's present automotive fleet let alone the potential fleet of the future. I am all for the development of batteries that use more common and plentiful elements. Sulphur, Carbon, and Boron are all super plentiful. I assume that the lower case "i" is for ion... I don't know of any element with the symbol "Ci". Turkey will probably like the idea of using boron in the world's automobiles as it possesses the more "clean" boron than any other country. Posted 01-13-2008 at 12:27 PM by xrotaryguy
18.  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). Posted 03-29-2008 at 11:09 AM by Technopete
19.  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. Posted 03-29-2008 at 08:12 PM by saab96
20.  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 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! Posted 03-30-2008 at 05:16 PM by KiwiEV

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