Quicker charging is one breakthrough the electric vehicle industry is looking for to reach its tipping point. If a driver can juice up her car in the same time it would take to fill a tank of gas, suddenly those longer road trips don’t seem so daunting. It’s a common goal, and a number of companies are working on way to minimize charging times. Porsche’s got 350-kW charging, Store Dot has its own five-minute solution, and Fisker is working on some mysterious charging standard. Now Toshiba says it has a breakthrough battery that can add 320 kilometers (199 miles) of range from a six-minute charge.
The key to this rapid-charging lithium-ion battery is a new anode material. The next-generation Toshiba SCiB battery uses titanium niobium oxide, which doubles the capacity compared with graphite-based anodes. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, Toshiba says it “has developed a proprietary method for synthesizing and disarranging crystals of titanium niobium oxide and storing lithium ions more efficiently in the crystal structure.” It’s also more durable in “ultra-rapid” charging, and charging in cold weather, improving the battery’s longevity. In testing, Toshiba says it maintains more than 90 percent of its capacity after 5,000 charge/discharge cycles.
Toshiba plans to bring the next-generation SCiB battery, with its new anode material, to market in 2019. Now, if we can get the charging problem solved, we just have to tackle the other parts of the equation: infrastructure and cost.