Toshiba has announced plans to up its production of lithium-ion battery cells from the current 150,000 a month to three million by 2010, its eye on the new hybrid and plug-in electric cars silently heading our way in the next few years. How many cars that monthly cell count equates to is a grey area. BMW's new Mini E is said to …
Full specs please
Take an ordinary battery rated for 500 charge/discharge cycles. Recharge every week. It lasts 10 years! First rule of reading adverting blurb: any figure not quoted must be sufficiently poor to cripple sales.
Will see the launch of the new Prius already being touted around the motoring pages.
This one sees an improved battery pack with significantly higher capacity, coupled with a hike in almost-conventional (Atkinson cycle) engine size from 1.5 to 1.8 litres. The improvements in the batteries and the commensurate ability to provide more regenerative capacity means that the improvement in performance this gives is achieved without an increase in fuel consumption and emissions (according to Toyota, a pinch of salt may be required here).
I suspect that this upcoming launch, coupled with the massive waiting list for the current Prius of 6 months plus due to demand heavily outstripping supply, probably has more to do with Toshiba's ramp up than any other single factor.
Still using the heavy stuff
Why don't they use the new thin light polymer battery/super caps?
You can shape mould them as well, I.E into panels.
Super capacitor - ho, ho
We're just building some buses for a Canadian customer who wants the option to fit a super capacitor to help the starter motor batteries in the winter. All the wiring and switching is relatively cheap, but the super cap costs several thousand pounds Sterling. So they probably won't be fitting that many unless it gets really cold. Global warming, anyone?
Mine's the hi-viz one with a beach-ball like company logo.
And here's an interesting Iconic Top Gear development from the Fatherland ....... http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=2&article_id=7182 ..... looking for a Lighter Lode too from the tone of the report.
It's my understanding that the new thin polymer stuff has super cap characteristics (I think)...boffin required!
Actually the Prius battery comprises 168 cells, not 228 (that was the old Mk1 Prius). They're 1.2V Nickel-Metal-Hydride cells, arranged as 28 separate 6-cell batteries. The idea was that they could be re-furbished by replacing individual batteries, although, in practice, the batteries proved so reliable that no-one bothers to do it. The battery has a maximum current output of around 250A and is about the size of a slab of beer. (For non-Aussies, a "slab" is a standard shrink-wrapped pack of beer cans, containing about enough beer to keep an Australian going for one footy match, i.e. 24 cans)
A Lithium-Ion cell would have a much higher voltage than Nickel-Metal Hydride, so the battery would have fewer cells. However, I doubt whether they could attain the required durability and reliability. Alkaline-type rechargeable batteries (i.e. Nickel-Iron, Nickel-Cadmium, Nickel-Metal-Hydride etc) are renowned for durability if they're well looked-after - I've seem some 30-year-old batteries still going strong. I've never managed to get more than 3-4 years out of Lithium-ion batteries, though.
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