Technologies promises 6 minutes of charging

This start-up, from the University of Cambridge, is about to commercialize a new chemistry for lithium-ion batteries. It replaces graphite with a special powder that greatly improves load capacity.

A smartphone or car battery recharged in six minutes? Promises of this ilk have already arisen many times. But, for the time being, none have gone beyond the stage of research and development in the laboratory. Technical solutions exist, but the difficulty lies mainly in their industrialization, which is either too complex or too expensive (or both) to represent a viable alternative to existing processes. An obstacle that the start-up Echion Technologies assures to be able to overcome.

This start-up, founded by Jean De La Verpillière while he was preparing his PhD in nanoscience at the University of Cambridge, assures that its technology, capable of radically speeding up the charging time of a lithium-ion battery, is already ready for commercialization from next year.

The composition of the powder kept secret

It is a new chemistry that replaces the graphite of a lithium-ion cell with a special powder whose composition is kept secret. This material is supposed to be able to withstand a rapid charge without posing a safety risk, assures its inventor. As a result, Echion Technologies states that a lithium-ion battery using its component instead of graphite can be fully recharged in six minutes. And it would work for both a smartphone and an electric car.

Currently, the young shoot says it can produce 1 kg of its powder every day, which would be enough for the battery of an electric car. It is developing large-scale production methods that would make it possible to manufacture 1,000 tonnes "quite easily" in factories. "Our materials are then simply deposited in the existing battery manufacturing infrastructure at no investment cost," Echion 

Technologies explains on its website.

But the lack of more elaborate technical data leaves many questions unanswered, especially about the endurance of batteries using this component. Is the number of charge/discharge cycles the same as a conventional lithium-ion cell? We will have to wait until next year before we know if Echion Technologies has succeeded in its bet.

Toshiba has unveiled a new version of its super charged ion battery technology that could offer up to 320 kilometers of range to a car with a charging time of just six minutes. It is expected to be released in 2019.

Ensuring an electric car has a range of 320 kilometers after only six minutes of battery charge: here's what Toshiba promises us. The Japanese industrialist has just introduced a new generation of its SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery) lithium-ion battery technology whose new anode alloy doubles the storage capacity compared to current materials.

In 2008, Toshiba launched its SCiB batteries, which can be recharged 90% in just five minutes and offer a 10-year lifespan. These batteries are used in particular by standard electric cars, such as the Mitsubishi i MiEV (Peugeot Ion in France) and the Honda Fit EV. They use a lithium-titane oxide anode.

A niobium-titane oxide alloy

The new anode is based on a niobium-titane oxide alloy (NbTi), which has low temperature superconductivity properties. Toshiba explains that it masters a method for synthesizing and disposing of NbTi crystals leading to doubling the storage density compared to the lithium-titane oxide anode.

Tests on a 50 Ah SCiB battery prototype have shown that it can handle 5,000 charge cycles while still retaining 90% of its capacity. In addition, rapid recharging can be done at low temperatures, up to -10 degrees Celsius, in about ten minutes. This allows Toshiba to estimate that such a lithium-ion battery integrated with an electric car could offer 320 km of range after only six minutes of charging. This new technology is scheduled to be released in 2019.

An electric car loaded in five minutes?

Toshiba announces the creation of a new plant to mass produce fast-charging batteries suitable for the automotive sector. The goal: to recharge an electric car in 5 minutes...

Already developed for the electronics and computing sectors, this type of SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery) battery would significantly reduce charging time. According to Toshiba, five minutes is enough to recharge 90% of the battery, which is comparable to the time it takes to refuel.

Another advantage is that these SCiB batteries can be used daily for more than ten years and undergo 6,000 discharge charge cycles without major loss of performance, the Japanese manufacturer points out.

Current recharge time: from half an hour to several hours

Toshiba, which already has a SCiB battery manufacturing plant, is expected to open its second production site in spring 2011. The firm plans to produce 500,000 cells per month in the first year, then increase its production rate to supply manufacturers of plug-in electric or hybrid cars, such as the future Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera.

Currently, electric cars developed by manufacturers require tens of minutes to recharge their lithium-ion batteries. The Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev, which will be on the market in Europe from the end of 2010, require 30 minutes to recharge 80% of their battery capacity from a specific terminal and even several hours since a 200-volt domestic socket.

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