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Toshiba SCiB Li-Ion Battery Debuts in a Schwinn E-Bike

SCiB module and Schwinn Tailwind. Click to enlarge.

Cannondale Sports Group, a global provider of branded bicycles and a division of Dorel Industries, Inc., has selected the new Toshiba fast-charging SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery) lithium-ion battery (earlier post) to provide the power battery module for a new electric bicycle for the North American and European markets.

Toshiba’s SCiB 24V/4.2Ah module will be installed in the Tailwind, a new electric bicycle Cannondale Sports Group will bring to market under the Schwinn Bicycles brand. Commercial launch of the Tailwind is scheduled for early 2009.

For the SCiB, Toshiba adopted a new lithium-titanate 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.

Toshiba claims that the SCiB has an input-output performance equivalent to that of an electric double layer capacitor. This feature is suited to high-power applications. However, cell voltage is only 2.4 V (the anode is 1.4 V versus lithium) and it has a low capacity density of about half that of graphite.

Capacity loss after 3,000 cycles of rapid charge and discharge is less than 10%. SCiB has a long cycle life, and is able to repeat the charge-discharge cycle more than 6,000 times.

The SCiB is housed in an SCiB Battery Module comprising ten 4.2 ampere-hour (Ah) SCiB cells aligned in series connection, plus a battery management system.

The safety characteristics of SCiB allow recharge with a current as large as 50A, allowing the SCiB Cell and SCiB Standard Module to recharge to 90% of full capacity in only five minutes, according to Toshiba. Toshiba is developing a 3.0 Ah high-power version of the SCiB cell specifically for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications.

Toshiba says that it intends to extend the application of the high-power SCiB to electric cars in the future, after advancing development of a higher-performance SCiB cell.

SCiB and the Schwinn Tailwind electric bike, the first commercial application of SCiB, is on display at Interbike 2008 (24-26 September), the largest bicycle trade show in North America.



Oops, can't be good news for Altair....


It is also somewhat bad news for companies that make old fashioned super capacitors. This battery offer super capacitor power with ten times the energy density of a super capacitor. However, it still is less durable because a super capacitor can easily do 100,000 recharges. However, for EV applications 3000 recharges and 150 miles range is still 450,000 miles or plenty for 20 years of service.

Anyway, EVs with the ability to charge to 90% in 5 minutes will be much more useful than EVs that need 30 minutes. Nobody (but retired people or unemployed) will do a long-distance drive in a pure short range EV unless it can recharge at every gas station in 5 minutes. Otherwise people will be forced to drive range extended EVs or alternatively only use their EVs for short-distance commuting and errands.

If these batteries can be made for $500 or less per kWh we could start to depend less on the ICE.


Altair are talking about less than $500 per kWh in the near future.



Has anyone found details about how fast the bike can go on level terrain and batteries only? This could be a possible mode of commute for me, but speed will need to be sufficiently high. Also, will pedaling be able to augment velocity?




Think about 20-25 kph.

As far as I know, these bikes are usually electric-assist bikes, so you HAVE to pedal to get moving. As speed increases, the assistance decreases. So it helps you most when you need it: uphill/headwind. Above a certain speed there is no assistance at all.

I think it's a beautiful concept. Instead of a moped or bus, this helps you stay fit just by going about your daily life.

In the Netherlands these bikes are becoming very popular. I think this design doesn't beat the Sparta ION, which has the battery in an oversized down tube.


100 Wh seems a little small to me. My electric bike traction battery is currently 500 Wh and even that dies after about 8-10 miles. I guess I should just pedal more.



Your trip should take around 45 mins. To drain 500 Wh in that time an an average power of > 650W is required.

To go 25 kph on a normal bike takes around 200 W. The power you are providing yourself is easily 50 W, so the power demand on the electric system should be around 150 W. Sure the rating isn't a bit optimistic? Or is it 8-10 miles uphill only?

Alex Kovnat

It would be interesting to see how much of the battery's charging needs could be met by regenerative input from the drive motor operating as a generator, when the rider is in the mood to pedal hard or when the bicycle is going downhill.

Also, I would like to know what kind of transmission arrangement this bike has. Modern bicycles often have deraileur (is my spelling correct?) on both front and rear sprockets, thus providing 10 or more overall gear ratios. Does the Schwinn electric bicycle have such an arrangement as well?

Modern high-tech materials, i.e. carbon fiber and titanium, are expensive but enable lighter weight. Does the Schwinn E-bike utilize this technology?

For those interested in how bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, walking, buses, and other transport modes can fit into modern urban transportation, I recommend this book: Grava, Sigurd; Urban Transportation Systems: Choices for Communities; (c)2003, published by McGraw-Hill. I suppose electric bicycles will find their niche as well.

John Taylor

I have a Schwinn Electric bike, (24v, lead acid batteries) so I hope the new Li battery will soon be available.
As for those thinking of using one for a commute .. if the trip is under 10 km, the bike is great. Speed is about 20km/h on batteries alone, with a modest increase if you peddle hard. I find peddling useful in acceleration, or for extending the range, or for helping out on uphills, or just to get some exercise.

You still may want a car for days when the weather is bad.


The advantage of electric (and pedal) bikes is that they are small and cheap and you CAN keep your car for wet days or days when you have to bring others with you.

There is no law which says you can only have one mode of transport, hence, if you live in or near a city, get a bike.

The energy of about 100 wH is rather low, I would have thought - only 30 minutes @ 200 watts to full discharge.

If you can recharge at work, you are OK, else you have a dead bike to cycle home on.

Here is another great book on bikes fro MIT
Bicycling Science
Von David Gordon Wilson, Jim Papadopoulos, Frank Rowland Whitt

The message from that would be that the power requirements from pedal bikes are very low, and you don't need a motor at all (my comment).

From the point of view of urban commuting, ordinary bikes should be fine up to about 5 miles, thereafter an e-bike or e-scooter might enable a more elegant entry into the office on a warm morning.


What's the price for this bicycle?....($2000 range)


Excellent performance for low power applications.

However, the low energy density (67.2 Wh/Kg), i.e. about the same as the current NiMH used in the Prius, will limit application for PHEVs and BEVs (too heavy). It would be very interesting as HEV pack, it would supply improved braking energy recuperation and extended life duration at a lower cost?

Toyota may get the message?

Alex Kovnat

To Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and any other motorcycle manufacturer:

Have you considered hybrid electric motorcycles?


Details on the Schwinn Tailwind eBike Disclosed
According to Schwinn, the Tailwind electric bike represents the next generation of eBike and will be available in early 2009 at a suggested retail price of $3,199.99(US).

The Tailwind (like all Schwinn electric bicycles) is a so-called eBike hybrid and can be ridden in either motor-assist mode or as a conventional bike. The eight-speed Tailwind utilizes a lightweight, Schwinn-designed 6000 series aluminum alloy frame and an SR Suntour NEX-4610 suspension fork with lock-out.

The electric motor in the Tailwind is housed in the hub of the front wheel, an innovation found in all Schwinn electric bike models. In addition, all Schwinn eBike models (including the Tailwind) utilize the Plug N' Drive removable battery pack which is built into stylishly designed rear bike rack systems, allowing riders to quickly detach the battery for recharging.

It is projected that Tailwind owners will realize an industry leading 2,000 recharge lifecycles with the eBike versus the industry standard of 1,000 charges before needing to replace the battery. Tailwind riders will find they can ride 25 to 30 miles per charge (depending upon such factors as climate, rider weight and terrain). The Tailwind also comes with a 20,000-mile or two-year limited warranty.

Other specs for Schwinn's Tailwind include

* A Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal geared rear hub,

* A brushless motor with 180 watts of continuous power or 250 watts at peak power,

* Schwinn's PowerDial™ on and off power assist system, with three pedal assist power settings,

* Rear roller braking system,

* Double wall alloy rims and Continental Town Ride tires (with flat protection and reflective sidewall),

* Inside-the-frame electric wire routing,

* Full fenders, chain cover, Basta Defender wheel lock, and B+M dynamo powered light set,

* Selle Royal Look In gel saddle (seat), with suspension seat post and adjustable rise stem,

* Four standard frame sizes (S, M, L, XL), and

* Three step-thru frame sizes (S, M, L).


@ Anne

Anne, I believe you, but where did you get the data that it takes about 200 watts to travel at 25 km/hour
on a normal bike ?

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