Toshiba has developed a new fast-charging lithium-ion battery with an extended lifecycle that has significant potential for application in hybrid and full-electric vehicles.
According to the company, the prototype of the battery can recharge 80% of its energy capacity in only one minute, approximately 60 times faster than the typical lithium-ion batteries in wide use today, and will lose only 1% of its capacity after 1,000 cycles of discharging and recharging.
On those two criteria, the Toshiba battery meets the long-term specifications for advanced battery technology for vehicles set by the US Advanced Battery Consortium.
Toshiba Li-Ion vs. Select USABC Criteria Parameter USABC Mid-term USABC Long-term Toshiba Li-Ion Energy Density (Wh/l) 135 300 150–250 Fast Recharge (40%–80%) <15 min <15 min 80% in 1 min Normal Recharge <6 hours 3–6 hours 10 minutes Cycle life 600 1,000 1,000
Pragmatically, the speed and capacity of the recharge isn’t as major a factor for grid-connected plug-in recharging of the battery (which presumably would happen at night), as it is for the capture of energy from regenerative braking. (Although I suppose you could hypothesize a widespread infrastructure of electric recharging stations where drivers could queue for a quick jolt.)
The current crop of more slowly charging batteries let much of the converted kinetic braking energy go to waste—they just can’t capture the charge fast enough. To counter that, some hybrid and full EV applications use ultracapacitors as a means of burst capture and release.