Toshiba's Scib Battery Aimed for Electric Cars, Bikes

Developing new batteries remains to be one of the big challenges in electronics. Batteries roughly improve 6 percent a year in performance compared to 60% for silicon chips.

Published: 04-Oct-2008

It won’t blow up and it charges rapidly. Conceivably, you could have a an electric car that charges in a few minutes. Those are the some of the reasons that Toshiba (TOSBF.PK) says the Scib battery will become popular in electric vehicles in the coming years.

Scib (which stands for super-charge ion battery) is a lithium-titanate battery – similar to the ones being put together by tiny Altair Nanotechnologies – that can be used in a wide variety of applications. Conventional lithium-ion batteries have a lithium-cobalt cathode. (In batteries, charged lithium particles move from the cathode to the anode and back again). Unfortunately, lithium-cobalt batteries can break down and cause a “thermal runaway reaction” or explosion. Lithium-cobalt batteries also degrade over time: The more they get used, the less power they can hold. If you want to buy an electric car today, battery replacement is an issue you have to consider.

Developing new batteries remains to be one of the big challenges in electronics. Batteries roughly improve 6 percent a year in performance. Silicon chips improve by around 60 percent a year. The key part to remember with Scib is that this is Toshiba, one of the major supplier of components to the electronic world. The cafeteria at corporate headquarters probably employs 35 times more people that Altair has in total. NEC and Nissan (NSANY) are also working on batteries for electric cars. This is good news for electric and plug-in car fans: when large mass manufacturers begin to show strong and positive interests in new technologies, the odds of that technology making it to market increase dramatically.

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