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Toshiba Launches New Li-Ion Battery Business; Plans to Enter Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Market

11 December 2007

The SCiB offers high power performance, equivalent to that of an electric double layer capacitor, according to Toshiba. Click to enlarge.

Toshiba Corporation announced the commercial launch of the SCiB—the Super Charge ion Battery—a fast-charging battery that offers excellent safety and a long-life cycle of over 10 years, even under conditions of constant rapid charging. The safety characteristics of SCiB allow recharge with a current as large as 50 amperes (A), allowing the SCiB Cell and SCiB Standard Module to recharge to 90% of full capacity in only five minutes, according to Toshiba.

Toshiba aims to make the SCiB a mainstay of its industrial systems and automotive products businesses, with global sales of ¥100 billion (US$895 million) targeted for fiscal year 2015. For the automotive market, Toshiba plans initial application in hybrid cars, and intends to extend the application to electric cars in the future after advancing development of a high-performance SCiB cell. The first SCiB will be shipped from March 2008.

According to a report in the Nikkei, Toshiba will begin producing 150,000 batteries a month at a Saku, Nagano Prefecture, factory. It will shift to mass production by 2010 with plans to make 600,000 cells for hybrid and electric vehicles and 400,000 batteries for forklifts and other industrial equipment.

With the SCiB Toshiba has progressed beyond the breakthrough in fast recharging lithium-ion technology that it announced in March 2005. (Earlier post.) For the SCiB, Toshiba adopted a new non-carbon anode material offering a high level of thermal stability; a high flash point electrolyte; and a structure resistant to internal short circuiting and thermal runaway.

This is a truly innovative battery. The excellent performance of the SCiB will assure its successful application in industrial systems and in the electronic vehicles markets as a new energy solution. In terms of environmental impacts, the SCiB offers a long life that will reduce waste.

—Toshiharu Watanabe, Corporate Vice President of Toshiba Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of Toshiba's Industrial Systems Company

A SCiB Standard Module comprises ten 4.2 Ah, 2.4V SCiB cells aligned in series connection and a battery management system (BMS) that monitors voltage and temperature in order to protect the cells in case of emergency, and that balances the state of charge in each cell. The SCiB cell weighs approximately 150 grams; the module weight approximately 2 kilos.

Capacity loss after 3,000 cycles of rapid charge and discharge is less than 10%. SCiB is able to repeat the charge-discharge cycle over 5,000 times (more than 10 years with a once-a-day cycle). SCiB operates well in temperature extremes, with sufficient discharge at temperatures as low as -30°C.

December 11, 2007 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack (1)


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Finally, I was wondering where they went. I wonder if Honda or Toyota are talking to them.

That's 2 kilos per 100.8 watt-hours, 50 watt-hours per kilo, and 44 lbs per kwh. That's pretty low energy density. It's 1/3 of a basic cobalt li-ion battery.

The charging speed sounds great, but a 16kwh battery pack for an ErEV like the Chevy Volt would weigh 700 lb's.

With its very fast 5000+ charge/discharge cycles + cold weather operation (but low energy density) it would be a good unit for our 4 x 4, SUV's, pick-ups mastodones. Those drivers would feel much better with another ton of batteries.

May not be the ideal ESSU for light efficient compact cars unless it can be made much lighter.

Definitely a chemistry for HEVs. I wonder if, with a good BMS, you could incorporate some of the cells into a PHEV or BEV battery to improve peak power capacity in the same way as we have been talking about combining batteries and ultracaps.

With that kind of power density (higher than supercaps), and that many charge cycles, These would be A perfect fit for A hybrid battery pack for an EV. Just imagine: high energy low power cobalt based lithium ion batteries slowly discharging into A small group of these at lower than 1C.
You would get your range from the lightweight cobalt batteries, and your acceleration from these guys.

This is awesome good news especially the fact that they will start shipping them in March 2008. It would be interesting to hear what they cost. If the price is right they will mean the end of the NiMH for Hybrids. However, they should have many other interesting applications because of their extremely good durability and fast charge. They mention forklifts that can benefit from the fast charge time. Say goodbye to fuel cells in forklifts this is better and probably much cheaper.


This sounds like they think the Weight/Power will improve:
"with the intent of extending application to electric cars in the future, after advancing development of a high-performance SCiB cell"

The bad news is they don't even mention the price. Not even something like a generic "excellent price performance" blurb.


Could this battery not be used instead of the standard lead acid battery in a car or a truck and then make a start stop function each time the vehicle is stopped? A lead acid battery should not be able to last long in such a setup but this battery can do it and it could save a lot of fuel and the price of the car should not increase by more than a few 100 dollars because a starter battery only need to be max 0.1kWh. This price premium will hold even if the battery cost $3000 per kWh which I think is the price they will be able to sell it for. I am not an engineer so maybe I miss something.

This battery should also be ideal for mobile material transporting robots in factories.

The 2.4V/cell is consistent with other technologies that use nongraphite anodes (e.g. LTO, a la Altair and EnerDel).

As for energy density- (4.2Ah)(2.4V)=10.08 watt-hours/cell


So fairly low by lithium ion standards, and even compared to the lowball offerings from the aforementioned American competitors.

Not necessarily competitive in that field with NiMH either, but Toshiba seems to have a definite lifespan advantage over that older chemistry, as well as the fast recharge.

I would have installed a PV system in my off-grid cabin by now except for the backup lead-acid batteries.

This may do the job.

The MODULE weighs 2kg.

The MODULE has 100.8Wh.

50Wh/kg is correct.

Special infrastructure required to recharge kWh in 5 minutes - power source of 12kW to charge 1kWh battery in 5 minutes. multiply by 16 x 12 = 168kW power supply for a Volt.

Progress... The Electrification of Ground Transport advances...

What will y'all worry about when we cease needing lots of petroleum, and simply cease dumping CO2 into the atmosphere?

What ever happened to EEStor?

The industry appears to be under the collective illusion that BEV owners require their vehicles to behave exactly as the ICE-based alternative, only better.

Consumers are perfectly capable and willing to accept technological limitations that require them to adopt or change certain habits, as long the overall benefits outweigh the niggles by a wide margin. In this particular context, that means hooking the PHEV up at night for a trickle charge off a dedicated but otherwise ordinary household circuit. For additional range on a given day, there is the ICE genset.

The only segment of the market that may really need fairly rapid recharge is commercial delivery fleets.

Obviously Toshiba's so-called Li-ion battery needs a "qualifier" to be specific as to its true chemical make-up.
I have no clue as to a Li-ion secondary cell chemistry that produces a voltage of 2.4V nominal.
I get that their battery is an ion-type but I am wondering if it really consists of a Lithium-ion chemistry.

Link (Visual Appearance):

"Lithium-ion batteries have a nominal open-circuit voltage of 3.6 V and a typical charging voltage of 4.2 V."
"Lithium-ion batteries should never be depleted to below their minimum voltage, 2.4V to 3.0V per cell."

A little Math to help "get a feel":
A 35kW/Hr battery will run a small car about 150 miles range and a Mid-size SUV for about 100 miles.

<<<<<<< Toshiba's Super Charge ion Battery >>>>>>>
Cells = 150g x 10 = 1500g
Module = 4.4lbs = 2kg = 2000g - 1500g = 500g for electronics, sensors and packaging (assuming no heat sinks).
Weight ~ that of a Bud 6-pack (alum cans).
Module = 100 x 300 x 45mm = 1,350cm2 = 82.4in2 ~size for a quart of milk

Voltage decay 10-15% = 2.4V - 0.3V = 2.1V
Average voltage = 2.25V x 10 (cells) x 4.2AH = 95W/Hr
For 10 mile range - 3,500W/Hr / 95W/Hr = 37 Modules (~10 gallons in volume and the weight of ~9 cases of Bud cans or 163lbs, the weight an average male passenger.
Cost - not a clue! Hope it not much more that $3,500 ($1W/hr).

For GM Volt:
40-mile Range = the weight of four average male passengers and ~37 gallon volume. can buy these batteries now (they do not have the same life)
Hi-Power Polymer Li-Ion Battery Module: 37V 10Ah (370 W/hr) 40A Drain Rate

<<<<<<< PoweriZer Li-ion Battery >>>>>>>
Capacity 370W/hr
One pack = 2,314 gram = 2.3kg = 5.1 Lb (~weight of a Bud 6-pack of bottles)
Dims: 6.6" x 4.4" x 2.9" (168mm x 112mm x 74mm) = 85in2 (1392cm2) ~size for a quart of milk
at $344 / 370W/hr = $0.93W/hr with a little aging call it $1W/hr.

For 10 mile range - 3,500W/Hr / 350W/Hr = 10 Packs = ~2.5 gallons in volume and the weight of 2 x 30-pack Bud bottles or 51 lbs, the weight of my 6-year-old.
Cost ~ $3,500

For GM Volt:
40-mile Range = the weight of one Large male passenger (204lbs) and ~ 25 gallon volume.
Cost = $14,000 at $1W/hr

35kW/hr ~ $33,000 (yes, ~the price of a Highlander Hybrid)
Remember, this is only for a 100-150 range depending on vehicle and does not cover the cost of electricity.

Sorry if I made any errors - let me know and I'll be happy to correct them.

The batteries have more uses than just replacing gasoline; they will make great units for conventional hybrids.  With a charge rate of ~12C, a 3 kWh battery pack could absorb 36 kW or about 48 HP of braking power.  That's enough to bring a 3300 lb (1500 kg) car from 30 MPH to 0 in about 4 seconds.

Im assuming they will pack em in 12 packs for a 288 volt pack with 1.2 kwh riral energy and likely .3 kwh usable energy. This likely will fill the same splot as the 288 volt nimg packs used currently.

As for plug ins and bevs... far too bulky and heavy.

As for forklifts... as I doubt anyone would spend money on a 2800 lb 66000 buck forklift battery that would last mayve 2 years under normal duty... not a chance in hell.


You are not right that this battery is unsuited for forklifts. It can be charged in less than 5 minutes which means a forklift will only need enough battery to keep it running for two hours. It should be no problem to find 4 or 5 minutes once every 2 hours to charge the battery. 10kWh will therefore do fine. That is 200 kilo or 400 lb and assuming a high $3000 per kWh it is a $30.000 battery. It can do 5000 recharges minimum or about 10 times more than a deep cycle lead acid battery for forklifts. Furthermore, a forklift using lead acid cannot recharge in 5 minutes so you need 8 hours of runtime or about 4 times 10kWh. That is 40kWh of lead acid battery for a similar sized forklift or a bulky 1333 kilo/ 2666 lb battery assuming 30Wh/kg. The Toshiba battery may be $3000 per kWh but it lasts ten times longer than lead acid so a comparable price for lead acid would be 3000/10 = $300 kWh. However, you need four times more of it so the comparable price is 300/4 = $75 per kWh of deep cycle lead acid battery that normally costs twice as much as a regular lead acid battery. I don’t think you can buy it for that little anywhere and therefore the Toshiba battery is still cheaper than lead acid for forklifts. Plus you don’t need to use space for storing and charging of lead acid batteries buy infrastructure for replacing lead acid batteries. The forklift will be lighter and that can be used to increase the load on it.

I predict that by 2015 all new forklifts sold anywhere on the planet in all sizes will use a battery similar to or equal to Toshibas battery. Of cause they need to keep the price on or below $3000 kWh.

A short note on Toshiba’s production capacity

Their first factory for this battery will do 150,000 cells a month or 1,800,000 a year in 2008. That is 19,440 kWh a year (the report say 150,000 batteries per month but that must be an error it is too much for a startup commercial scale facility). In 2010 capacity is increased to 400,000+600,000 = 1,000,000 cells per month of 12 million cells per year. That is 129,600 kWh per year. If that was used exclusively for forklifts it would be enough to equip 12,960 forklifts with batteries of a size comparable to 40kWh of lead acid batteries. This I could imagine would be a very large share of the world market for forklifts.
For comparison A123 is likely producing 40,000 kWh in 2007. Altair is likely doing less than 3,500 kWh in 2007.


Just noticed an error in my argumentation above. I assume that the Toshiba battery is only 10kWh instead of 40kWh for lead acid because it unlike lead acid batteries can easily be recharged 4 times a day during normal work. My error is that this will also decrease the expected life time 4 times and then the comparable price for lead acid is back to $300 / kWh. That is high and will be difficult to compete with for Toshiba. However, I was just guessing about the $3000 price / kWh for the Toshiba battery. I am sure that Toshiba will be able to price their battery so that it is marginally cheaper with regard to total cost of ownership than the best lead acid solution can offer. To avoid the cumbersome handling and charging of lead acid batteries and the capital cost of keeping an extra set of lead acid batteries for charging when the forklift is working will save a lot of money. We will see.

Energy density is the clear issue here. As noted earlier, fast charge is / cannot be a requirement for first generation PHEV/BEVs. While there may be some consumer resistance to limited fast charge ability - it will not dampen enthusiasm for Volt type 40 mile electric range - extended by ICE genset.

Consumer electronics has already prepped the market for trickle charging as a standard practice - we plug in our cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, cameras, etc, etc. everyday. The only seeming issue for slow charge battery packs will be to invest the consumer in reaching for the extension cord once they get home / work / parking garage.

You made a few other errotd.

1 The forklifts the fc company targeted use industrial lead acid batteries not deep cucle... the indistrial battery uses 4x the lead in its plates to up lifespan at the cost of weight.

2 The industrail batteries are supposedly cheap and very high capacity... they say 90 volt 700 amp hour.

4 The typical iser of the forklifys the fuel cell company targeted were using the batteries soo fast they had to have 3 for every forklift 2 always on the charge racks.

The main issues walmart carred about going to fuel cells was they could chop the forklift maintenance bay from 3000 sqiare feet to 220 AND have the forklifts run all day on a fillup.. of and the fuel cells being very tiny ones were also alot cheaper lasted a good long time and are light enough to not need special bulky equipment to replace when neede.

Oh and to make everything rvrn motr complrx trmrmbrt yjrtr atr not only several different catagories of forklift but that they dont all use lead acid,,, many it seems use nickel iron batteries... I expect 1 that toshiba is going after a different class of forklift then walmart uses and that roshiba doesnt actual plan on entering the forklift batteru market with this version of the battery but instead with a coist reduced more advanced version in 3 or more years.

For now tosjiba can likely make more money and sell every cell it makes selling to car makers alone.

BUT I expect the real targert is the medium and heavy truck market where the battery would capture the massive breaking loads much cheaper then an ultra cap battery combo does.// Tho that market seems to be going all hydralic.


Energy density is the clear issue here. As noted earlier, fast charge is / cannot be a requirement for first generation PHEV/BEVs. While there may be some consumer resistance to limited fast charge ability - it will not dampen enthusiasm for Volt type 40 mile electric range - extended by ICE genset.

Consumer electronics has already prepped the market for trickle charging as a standard practice - we plug in our cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, cameras, etc, etc. everyday. The only seeming issue for slow charge battery packs will be to invest the consumer in reaching for the extension cord once they get home / work / parking garage.

Is there enough to go around (battery elements that is) when the crunch comes in...? Then nano technology is key ... what we cannot see in normal elements -> we must diverse ourselves a new one. Designer/Nuclear batts anyone...?

a little jig on the three wheller I did...

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