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Toshiba’s SCiB battery for the Fit EV

20Ah SCiB cell. Click to enlarge.

Honda selected Toshiba Corporation’s SCiB rechargeable Li-ion battery to power the Fit EV. (Earlier post.) Toshiba will supply battery modules for the new car, which Honda will launch in summer 2012 in Japan and the US.

In 2010, Toshiba announced that it was working with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation to bring the SCiB battery (earlier post) to electric vehicles (EVs). (Earlier post.) Toshiba developed the SCiB module for the FIT EV with Honda; the module was supplied to Honda in December 2010 for evaluation in real-world verification testing of next-generation personal mobility products that the company conducted with Saitama and Kumamoto prefectures.

Honda selected the SCiB module for the FIT EV after a comprehensive evaluation program that tested the battery’s performance under diverse and demanding conditions.

The SCiB cells use lithium titanate oxide in the battery anode, enabling rapid charge times and a long battery life, with stable power discharge in a wide range of environments. In extremely cold conditions as low as -30°C the SCiB is less likely to experience lithium metal deposition, which enhances the risk of internal short circuiting and battery degradation, and at high temperature, even above 40°C, the impact on battery degradation is lower than in conventional lithium-ion batteries, according to Toshiba.

The characteristics of the SCiB battery cell enable longer range for electric vehicles; the SCiB is able to use a wider state of charge window than a conventional lithium-ion battery, and the SCiB also achieves efficient regenerative charging (using kinetic energy from braking and slowing down to charge the battery) that adds to performance.

The SCiB charges in about half the time of a typical Li-ion battery, Toshiba says. An SCiB 20Ah cell charged with an 80Ah current will reach 80% of capacity in 15 minutes and 95% in an additional 3 minutes. The SCiB generates little heat even during this fast recharging, eliminating the need for power to cool the battery module. Moreover, the full charge-discharge cycle for SCiB is 4,000 times, more than 2.5 times that of other Li-ion batteries. This long life could also contribute to the reuse of the battery.

Toshiba says that it will take full advantage of Honda’s selection of the SCiBT to promote its further application in electric vehicles. The company will also promote use of the battery in other areas, including as a stationary power storage device in smart grids.


Bob Wallace

The Honda Fit has a 120 mile range. I don't think we need a 5x improvement in battery capacity, 2x is plenty. If you can plug in at home (or park over a curbside charge pad) and have 200+ miles in your batteries when you leave home all you need is a Level 3 charger every 100 - 150 miles.

If we can roughly double today's battery capacity and bring the prices down below that of internal combustion engines I can't see fuel cells gaining a foothold for personal transportation.

By the time fuel cells can be perfected EVs are likely to be affordable and public chargers in place.

For FC vehicles to become affordable they would have to be manufactured in high volume. That would mean heavy governmental subsidies to build sales numbers. Why would the government want to spend significant tax dollars on FCVs when the oil/CO2 problem was already solved?

For FCVs to be practical who would invest the money to build the fueling infrastructure? We're talking megabucks.

The Honda Fit has a 120 mile range.
But at a steep price, almost $37,000 by the news I see. The base model Fit is about $21,000 cheaper. Probably $22,000 of that is the battery; I'll bet the motor is cheaper than a conventional drivetrain.

I like the idea of a 200-mile, fast-charge battery, but that doesn't mean we'll get it at all, let alone get it cheaply ($5,500 instead of $22,000). A backup plan makes sense.

Roger Pham

Daimler AG announced that they are going to release FCV's in 2014. That's 3 years from now. No gov. subsidy involved. Quote:
"Electric vehicles with fuel cells are ready for the market and we will start with the serial production in 2014 already. But since alternative drives require alternative infrastructures, we work closely together with partners from governments, energy providers and several automobile manufacturers.
—Prof. Herbert Kohler, Vice President eDrive & Future Mobility of Daimler AG.

Who will invest money in H2 infrastructure? Why, it's the top 1% of American, of course, who own probably 90% of the wealth and are having a hard time finding a place to park their wealth lately, remember...Big Energy companies also...if they wanna stay Big.

Who would be the early adopters of H2-FCV's? Probably the top 1% as well, the movers and shakers and the job creators.


RP....a very recent survey released this morning revealed that the top 1% to 3% are not really interested in Hybrids, FCs and EVs or more efficient vehicles. They have no problem to continue buying and using 4-ton large gas guzzlers.

People in the middle class are more interested (up to 46%) and are willing to pay an extra $10K for 250 to 350 Km EVs. Fewer are interested in EVs with less than 200 Km range. The interest goes above 50% with 500 Km EVs if the price differential is close to $10k.

The fast growing bottom class is not interested due to higher cost.

Basically, the diminishing middle class seems to be the only potential buyers of electrified vehicles and the bottom class would buy their old ICEVs.

Roger Pham

Thanks, HD for the info. That's people are saying, due to all the negative disinformation regarding H2 on the Internet.
Just wait until they see the real FCV's from MB, Lexus, Acura, BMW, Infiniti, etc..and actually take a test drive...The marketing power from the big auto mfg's luxury division can be quite irresistible!

Bob Wallace

It's looking like the Chinese are going to create a large in-country EV market. They've gotten very serious about getting people into EVs and should be able to control sales well enough to get manufacturing up to the level where their batteries become affordable.

They're building charging infrastructure, giving licensing and permit advantages to EVs and providing large subsidies. They've got the cash to put a half million EVs on the road.

It's going to be interesting to see what other car and battery companies are going to do in order to keep up.

Wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles are almost certainly the next place large fortunes will be made. The activity is going to be fierce.


BTW, the Chinese just announced that they're starting construction on a 2GW solar farm with the goal of 10GW of solar on line by 2015. I get the feeling that China doesn't plan on continuing to purchase oil and coal from other countries any longer than necessary.


Yes BW....China has recently mandated 25 very large cities to get going with electrified vehicles and apply appropriate by-laws to promote the accelerated electrification program. City leaders that have not reached the central government goal will end up somewhere else.

In many cities, private ICEVs will be restricted for use on low pollution days/hours ONLY, and that may not be for many days/hours a month. In other cities, ICEVs will require a special (expensive) permit to circulate in the city core.

The mandate for those 25 cities to have more than 1,000,000 electrified vehicles by 2015 and 5,000,000 by 2020.

Bob Wallace

A million EVs means that we should find out if Carlos Goshen (CEO Nissan/Renault) is right or not in his prediction that EV prices will fall to that of ICEVs when global annual production of EVs passes 500,000.

That's a claim that he just repeated on NPR in the last couple of days.


Major breakthroughs in manufacturing high quality silicon for solar panels have been announced in the last few days. New furnaces that do the "cooking" quicker and with less energy, new "doping" techniques which should raise efficiency ~30%.

China is now selling PV at $1.15/watt. Silicon panels for under $1/watt next year is what we should see and installed prices hitting $3/watt.

When installed solar hits $3 the price of solar electricity in the Sun Belt drops below $0.09/kWh.

Wind is on track to drop from $0.05/kWh to $0.04/kWh in the short term.

Looks like a lot of renewable electricity coming to fuel our EVs.


TXU, a Texas utility company has announced a nighttime TOU price for electricity - $0.068/kWh.

With a 0.35kWh/mile EV that's $0.024/mile.

With a 50MPG ICEV and $4/gallon gas it's $0.08/mile.

That's 3.3x more expensive per mile.


Battery depreciation per mile is still pretty high, but that's a great analysis, Bob.

Bob Wallace

Let's say Toshiba's SCiB now costs $400/kW. And it has a 400,000 mile life before hitting 80% capacity.

If we want to account for cost per mile shouldn't we discount some sell-on price for mileage left after we've 'used up' the car at 200k miles and the 80% left? After all, that's going to have value for grid smoothing/storage. How about we sell it off for $250/kW when the car gets scrapped.

A Nissan Leaf has a 24kW battery pack, so over the 200k miles we're going to use 24 x $150 worth of batteries. So, $0.018/mile. That's $0.024/mile for electricity and $0.018 battery depreciation so $0.042/mile.

(Actually somewhat higher as the battery has to be purchased up front and we would lose use of that money while the car was being driven.)

Don't forget, by the time you've hit 200k miles in an ICEV you're often on your second engine. The sell-on value of that engine is very low. The cost of fuel plus engine depreciation is the metric that should be used if we want to include battery depreciation for EVs.

(Did I couch that argument correctly? Haven't done battery depreciation figures before.)

Bob Wallace

We may well have a very significant battery development.

Researchers at Stanford University have now demonstrated a high-efficiency new nanomaterial battery cathode that lasts for 40,000 charge cycles without significantly losing its charge-holding capacity. At the end of 40,000 cycles the battery has still has 83% of original capacity.

Their battery is 99% efficient.

It can use either sodium or potassium rather than lithium, both of which are cheap. It also uses a water based electrolyte rather than a more expensive organic solvent-based electrolytes.

It may not have a good capacity to weight ration so it may not be a candidate for EV use, but it could be a game changer for utility storage.

With 40,000 cycles these batteries could be used 365 days a year to shift daytime solar into late afternoon hours and nighttime wind into morning hours (2 cycles per day) and still have 80% capacity after 50 years.

If they can use the same technology to create an equally good anode then storage changes.

A Nissan Leaf has a 24kW battery pack
That's kWh, Bob. Kilowatt-hour. Saying "x kilowatt battery" as a measure of range is literally as nonsensical as saying "a 200-horsepower gas tank" (1 horsepower = 0.746 kW). I harp on this because faulty understanding of units causes many people to have equally faulty conceptions of how things work and what's possible.
If we want to account for cost per mile shouldn't we discount some sell-on price for mileage left after we've 'used up' the car at 200k miles and the 80% left?
Sure, but you also have to consider the time value of money. Interest paid on the battery costs you for the initial price, including the resale value. Also, the value of a battery for stationary applications is going to be lower because other, cheaper technologies are competitive.
Researchers at Stanford University have now demonstrated a high-efficiency new nanomaterial battery cathode that lasts for 40,000 charge cycles
Promising, but per the article, that's just a cathode, not a whole battery.

One thing is certain....the world will have much better and cheaper batteries in 10 years and even more so in 20 years.

One other thing that is certain....the world will be driving many million BEVs in 10 years and as many as one billion BEVs in 20 years.

A third certain thing...the cost per Km/Miles with BEVs will keep going down and will be less than with ICEVs in 10 years and much less in 20 years.

To accelerate the switch from ICEVs to BEVs, governments could (at very little cost) make 10-year interest free loans for the full cost of batteries for PHEVs and BEVs. The rest of those electrified vehicles should eventually/soon cost less than equivalent ICEVs.

Bob Wallace

E-P sorry for the faulty proof reading. kWh

"Time value of money" I did state "(Actually somewhat higher as the battery has to be purchased up front and we would lose use of that money while the car was being driven.)"

It would be interesting to do an annualized rate of return on an EV vs. ICEV, but the big issue is if one wants to do a depreciated cost of battery they need to allow for residual battery value. The SBiCs may have significant value once the rest of the car is trash.

The problem is, we don't have reliable numbers. We're assuming $400/kWh. We don't have what is necessary to go out very many decimal places. If any.


Harvey, I agree about more clever financing of EVs/batteries. Give people loans for the cost difference between an EV and an ICEV at a good rate and over several years so that their monthly out of pocket costs are less from the first month.

If the loans were made at treasury rates plus a small percentage for fleet defaults then taxpayers would lose no money.

As the relative price of EVs fall this program would disappear. No lingering subsidy to get conservative bloomers in a bunch.

Bob Wallace

E-P I did say "Researchers at Stanford University have now demonstrated a high-efficiency new nanomaterial battery cathode" and "If they can use the same technology to create an equally good anode then storage changes."

That said, there is another sodium-ion battery going into production which may be close to as good.

As cheap as lead acid batteries, perhaps cheaper.

Thousands of charge/discharge cycles vs. 500-1,000 for lead acid batteries. Demonstration batteries have experienced 5,000 cycles with no decrease in performance. The company expects >20,000 cycles.

More cycles means more years use before replacement. I'm currently getting 5-8 years from lead acid batteries with my off the grid system. 5k cycles would mean 25-40 years. 20k cycles boggles the mind.

With only 5k cycles one could move nighttime wind to daytime demand every day, 365 days a year and the battery would be good for 13+ years.

Can be 100% discharged without damage. Lead acid batteries are normally limited to a much shallower discharge which means lower effective costs.

High tolerance to battery mismatch.

No self discharge or problems in high heat conditions.

Smaller and lighter than lead acid. Easier/cheaper to ship.

100% recyclable.

Apparently the battery has been tested by multiple independent labs and has passed their tests.

The company has received $30 million in initial financing. They are currently deciding where to build their first factory and expect to be shipping product in 2013.


Corrections accepted. I was reading too hastily.

I wish all of these companies great success, but if there's anything I've learned in watching the last several sets of crises, there are lots of things that look great in the lab and are never heard from again. Fortunately, it only takes one in any particular area.


E-P...why so few new battery advanced technologies make it from the lab to mass production? Is it for lack of Capital $$$ or lack of entrepreneurs? Do we need a few more Steve Jobs to push the technology?

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