New Toshiba SCiB Electric Car Battery Needs Just 6 Minutes To Add 320 Kilometers Of Range


When we think of electric car batteries, we think of Samsung SDI, Panasonic, LG Chem, and Tesla. The name  Toshiba seldom enters the conversation. Yet Toshiba has been toiling away in relative obscurity at the margins of battery research for several years. Now it says it has developed a new version of its SCiB battery that can be recharged in less time and at higher power than batteries from its competitors.

Tpshiba SCiB battery cell

The anode and cathode are the keys to any battery. Those are the places where electrons rush in during charging and out again to power electric motors or other devices. The more electrons that can be stored and the faster they can move the better. Anodes and cathodes degrade over time, reducing battery performance. Some can be damaged by physical impacts or high temperatures, leading to the escape of poisonous gases or fires.

Designing anodes and cathodes that have high energy density, long life, and low volatility is very much an occult science worthy of alchemists. Toshiba introduced its SCiB rechargeable battery cells in 2008, which differ from most other lithium ion batteries in that they use lithium titanium oxide for the anode.

The company says LTO improves battery performance at low temperatures (we can’t all live in Palo Alto). It also gives excellent power density, long battery life, and is resistant to the damage that can occur in other batteries from external impacts. In tests, the new battery maintains 90% of its capacity after 5,000 charging cycles.

The next generation of Toshiba’s SCiB battery cells uses titanium niobium oxide  for its anode material. Toshiba says it has double the storage capacity of the graphite based anodes generally used in conventional lithium ion batteries. The new battery has both high energy density and ultra-rapid recharging characteristics. Its titanium niobium oxide anode is less susceptible to lithium metal deposition during ultra-rapid recharging or recharging in cold conditions — a frequent cause of battery degradation and internal short circuiting.

Toshiba claims the new battery can add up to 200 miles of range to an electric car after just 6 minutes using a high power charger, but doesn’t define what it considers “high power.” Typical DC fast charging equipment in the US operates at 50 kW. Tesla Superchargers have 135 kW of power and ABB has just announced the first installations of chargers that have up to 350 kW of power.

“We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiB,” said Dr. Osamu Hori, director of Toshiba’s corporate research & development center. “Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiB™ into practical application in fiscal year 2019.”

Source: Electric Cars Report

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Epicurus

    Is there a stampede by auto manufacturers to these batteries?

    • Steve Hanley

      If so, the news has not yet reached my ears! ‘ – )

  • Marc P

    Well… at least this is not from some obscure start up we’ve never heard of… Maybe there’s a chance it can actually be true for once…! Sure hope so !

    • Steve Hanley

      I’m always nervous about battery news being vaporware, but as you say, at least this comes from a recognized company, not the University of South Succotash.

      • Frank

        OK. Lets have a look.

        In 2015 Toshiba fixed their financial reports. Lots of C-Level executives had to go.
        Together with 7000 employees cause of the true financial loss of billions.

        In 2016 Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation was sold to Canon for 6 Billion to fix the hole.

        Also in 2016 Toshiba sold 80% of thier consumer branch to the chinese Midea Group. They now build radios and microwaves and have a license on the name Toshiba for consumer goods for at least 40 years.

        Late 2016 The had to cover losses in their 2006 from Westinghouse acquired nuclear branch.

        That branch went finally bankrupt in March 2017.

        In September then they sold their silicon memory products branch for 18 billion to Bain Capital to cover the Westinghouse losses.

        So maybe you should not put that much hope into that press release.
        Toshiba is on a downward spiral and could really need a brake on the stock market.
        And what is a good investment into the future?
        Exactly, revolutionary battery technology.

        If the had no financial trouble bringing the technology to market, you would not have heard of this tech until 2019.
        So I suspect they pull exactly the same thing as all battery startups with a “disrupting new technology”.

        If the get unlucky, Toshiba will not make it to 2019!

        • Steve Hanley

          Excellent input. Not many people know Toshiba is heavily involved in nuclear power, unless they have read Vultures’ Picnic by Greg Palast.

        • Radical Ignorant

          We would hear – if battery is for car They potential buyers need quite some time to preparatem final product which would use this component. Battery is not a consumer product, it’s just a piece.

          We will hear some news from auto manufacturers when they will investigate it and they will find it true.

  • hamako

    No word about costs. Fortunately is there no problem with the availability of raw materials for mass production. Niobium is quite abundant. You write so nicely that the batteries are “resistant to the damage that can occur in other batteries from external impacts.” Great, but what about the ‘internal dangers’? According to the FAA every 10 (!) days a Lithium Ion battery is smoldering or burning on board (!) of an aircraft. This hazard is very real and may lead to additional restriction to air freighting of Li-Ion batteries. “Overheating has the potential to create thermal runaway, a chain reaction leading to self-heating and release of a battery’s stored energy. In a fire situation, the air temperature in a cargo compartment fire may be above the auto-ignition temperature of lithium. For this reason, batteries that are not involved in an initial fire may ignite and propagate, thus creating a risk of a catastrophic event.” How about this battery type?

    • Joe Viocoe

      Source please?
      The FAA only started this Li-Ion check after the Samsung Note battery fires.

  • Leonid

    Which characteristics they have? Usually LTO cell has a low voltage and enegry as a result.

  • Eco Logical

    The tradeoff: Lithium Titanate cell voltage is only 2.4V (specs from scib dot jp website).

    The 23Ah “High Energy” cell at 550 grams ~ 100 Wh/kg (2.4V x 23Ah / 0.550kg).

    Tesla S/X uses: Panasonic NCR18650B cell ~ 280 Wh/kg (3.7V x 3.4Ah / 0.045kg).

    The specs do say the SCiB cells charge in 6 minutes but according to my calculations, for a given weight the SCiB cells only have about 1/3 the capacity of the Panasonic (Tesla) cells.

    • vineeth pulipati

      But they said next gen SCiB is going to be much better at density

      • bioburner

        HAAAA that is the next generation of battery cells. The original SCIB batteries introduced in something like 2010 were the high power batteries with a energy density of about 47 WH/Kg the new cells are around 100 WH/Kg. but yes continued development could yield improvements in the future.

    • It’s titanium niobium oxide.