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Titanium-Based Battery Cathode from Toshiba Could Double Range of EVs

Toshiba's Current Lithium-Ion Battery - 176kWh/ℓ
Toshiba’s Current Lithium-Ion Battery – 176kWh/ℓ

Toshiba has developed a titanium-based battery cathode that doesn’t swell as much as carbon ones currently used in lithium ion batteries. This could double the range of electric vehicles.

The ideal rechargeable battery pack for an electric vehicle can probably be summed up with three words, powerful, durable, and dense. Sealed lead acid [SLA] batteries could never do the job adequately, as they are extremely heavy for their energy output.

While SLA batteries are common in the automotive field, the current battery chemistry of choice is lithium-ion [Li-Ion] which has about five times the energy density of SLA batteries.

Toshiba’s current Li-Ion batteries, in use in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Honda Fit EV electric vehicles, 10.5kWh and 20kWh respectively, measure at 176Wh/ℓ, which is about the limit for the current combination of anode, cathode, and electrolyte.

A new cathode material, lithium titanate [LTO], doesn’t swell as much as the standard carbon cathodes, increasing the number of cycles that the battery can withstand before deteriorating, which could effectively double the lifespan of an electric vehicle battery.

Toshiba’s change in cathode material could nearly double the energy density to at least 300Wh/ℓ, which would effect the same double in electric vehicle range. No word on costs yet, and given that the cathode is titanium-based, it might not make much difference. Doubling cycles and range, though, is good news for the electric vehicle market.

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