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Long In Development, Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the could-be-the-one dept.

Power 284

relliker notes Toshiba's announcement of the SCiB, a battery we have been following for years. (As usual, use NoScript to avoid the incredibly annoying timed begging popup on Gizmag's site.) Here is Toshiba's SCiB site. The battery's specs claim 6,000+ charge/deep-discharge cycles with minor capacity loss, safe rapid charging to 90% in 5 minutes, and enhanced safety regarding overheating or shorting out. It could make its way into electric vehicles before long.

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SCIB (5, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#33054286)

SCIB = Super Charge Ion Battery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-titanate_battery [wikipedia.org]

Re:SCIB (-1, Offtopic)

advocate_one (662832) | about 4 years ago | (#33054674)

unbelievable... a +5 informative mod for merely repeating what was already in the article

Re:SCIB (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#33054694)

unbelievable... a +5 informative mod for merely repeating what was already in the article

At least he gave us something useful.

People modded him up to show appreciation. I'm guessing far fewer readers will appreciate whining.

Re:SCIB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054978)

Oh, the irony.

Re:SCIB (0, Offtopic)

Snassek (1406521) | about 4 years ago | (#33054728)

Do people really read the articles?

Re:SCIB (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33054900)

The article says it, but not the submission. I for one appreciate the expansion and link as the battery is the star here, not Toyota.

So... (1)

Demize (55201) | about 4 years ago | (#33054288)

What's the catch?

Re:So... (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#33054294)

If I had to bet, I'd say it's "22".

Re:So... (1)

shock1970 (1216162) | about 4 years ago | (#33054886)

Everyone knows The Answer is really "42"

Re:So... (3, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | about 4 years ago | (#33054378)

Catch is 6000 charge/deep-discharge and rapid charge in 5 minutes.

Though my girlfriend is not impressed with those figures.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 4 years ago | (#33054556)

Less voltage per cell than ordinary lithium-ion, lower capacity than ordinary lithium-ion, and the fact that supplying enough volt-amps to fast-charge a car-sized battery pack remains decidedly non-trivial.

Re:So... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33054664)

the fact that supplying enough volt-amps to fast-charge a car-sized battery pack remains decidedly non-trivial.

that caught my eye right away, sure the battery might be able to handle 90% in 5 minutes, but good luck setting up infracstructure that can deliver that amount of juice, say a car would need 30kw to maintain motorway speed (say 50, for ease of calculation), and ranges 200 miles, that means you need 120 KW/h of stored energy, pack 90% of that in five minutes, and you end up with roughly 1.3 Gigawatt of drain sustained over 5 minutes...

IT'S OVER 1.21 GIGAWAT!! (yeah i know, i got my meme's mixed)

Re:So... (3, Informative)

Hank the Lion (47086) | about 4 years ago | (#33054800)

say a car would need 30kw to maintain motorway speed (say 50, for ease of calculation), and ranges 200 miles, that means you need 120 KW/h of stored energy, pack 90% of that in five minutes, and you end up with roughly 1.3 Gigawatt of drain sustained over 5 minutes...

IT'S OVER 1.21 GIGAWAT!! (yeah i know, i got my meme's mixed)

That would be 30 kW (not kw), 120 kWh (not KW/h), 1.3 MW (not GW)
So no, it's not over 1.21 gigawatt, just a factor 997 lower... ;-)

Re:So... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33054872)

oh frack, MW not GW...

Don't know whats up with me, missing three orders of magnitude.

(and point taken on the capitalization, been too long since my physics prof had a word with me)

anyway, 1.3 MW, still a enormous amount of juice

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054820)

Your off by 3 orders of magnitude. P=E/t => 120KWh/(5/60h) = 1440KW = 1.44 MW.
Besides I make with my EV with 20KWh around 100 Miles, so 60KWh/mile is certainly too much.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

omglolbah (731566) | about 4 years ago | (#33054572)

Charging the suckers for one thing...

If you think a few windmills can screw up the electrical grid, imagine a couple of hundred thousand electric cars hopping on the grid to charge...

I sure as hell wouldnt want to be in charge of the grid *cringe* even with timed charging functionality in the cars.

Not that it is a problem yet.. most households lack the fusing to allow such large loads.. not something I expect to change fast as it requires a lot of expensive upgrades

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 years ago | (#33054630)

Just a thought, but depending on the size, what if they were interchangeable?

If that were the case, you could roll in to a refitted petrol station to exchange your battery, and the system can manage with the grid when it juices the batteries up.

If you had enough batteries in rotation, you could even charge them during low usage periods, but you would still be able to rapidly charge in times of high demand.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33054692)

having 5 minute recharge was needed to get away from the battery-swapping trick, as that has the nasty side-effect of giving you a battery which may or may not be as good as your old one, with scrapping of old ones being the responsability of the power-stations (which wont ever scrap one, if they can rent it out for a few bucks)

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Hinhule (811436) | about 4 years ago | (#33054632)

If this takes off your at home charge station will probably be a larger battery bank which gets topped off overnight rather than direct power from the grid.
Everyone plugging their charger into their vehicle and then starting to do cooking, laundry etc. after work is going to create some horrid spot prices for power in the late afternoon.

Re:So... (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | about 4 years ago | (#33054754)

Not that it is a problem yet.. most households lack the fusing to allow such large loads.. not something I expect to change fast as it requires a lot of expensive upgrades

Comment above says you'll need 1.3Gw.

My 220v 200A service gives me 44Kw, right?

I don't believe my electric company is going to put the kind of capacity into my neighborhood to let me recharge at home like that.

A battery recharging station next to a substation would work. The only problem is that there isn't a substation on every corner, like gas stations.

BTW, how big do the wires have to be to handle 1.3Gw without getting too hot to touch?

Re:So... (1)

omglolbah (731566) | about 4 years ago | (#33054924)

To put it like this:

Kollsnes Gas Processing plant in the western Norway treats and compresses 150 million s3m of gas for the european market per 24/hours.

They have 6 compressors in use... 5 are 40MW, one is at 50MW..

A few years ago they had an operator mixup and 4 compressors were set to start in parallell... The hydro-electric plant supplying power cut the transmission line supply due to the fact that they detected the load as a dead SHORT of the lines.

Yeah... I dont think we want 1.3GW loads :p

Re:So... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 4 years ago | (#33054620)

From the above wiki link above, the tradeoff for fast charging is low voltage and capacity:

"A lithium-titanate battery is a modified lithium-ion battery that uses lithium-titanate nanocrystals on the surface of its anode instead of carbon. This gives the anode a surface area of about 100 square meters per gram, compared with 3 square meters per gram for carbon, allowing electrons to enter and leave the anode quickly. This makes fast recharging possible and provides high currents when needed. The disadvantage is that lithium-titanate batteries have a lower voltage and capacity than conventional lithium-ion battery technologies."

And.... (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 4 years ago | (#33054298)

...when does my laptop get one?

Re:And.... (0, Flamebait)

h7 (1855514) | about 4 years ago | (#33054374)

I would like to know this too. PC batteries are the worst, they last 1 year or 300 cycles. Macs are far better, rated at 1000 cycles. But it's still not good enough considering the life of the product.

Re:And.... (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 4 years ago | (#33054592)

The problem isn't the battery technology, it's the fact that laptop batteries are pretty much put through hell. Complete charge-discharge cycles (Tesla doesn't charge the battery above 85% or allow it to go below 10%), and they have no form of cooling (Tesla uses the vehicle's air conditioning system to keep the batteries at a nice temperature).

Do all that, and the battery will last much longer. But that's generally not practical for a laptop. Allowing room for cooling will result in either a bigger battery pack or less capacity, as will limiting the charge band.

Re:And.... (2, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 4 years ago | (#33054638)

AFAIK most of these still use the "traditional" LiCoO2 cathodes. Good energy density but known for degrading even without being used. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery#Shelf_life [wikipedia.org] .

Personally, I would prefer a more long-lifed battery type, even at the expense of having to lug around a bit more wight for the same capacity. LiFePO4 batteries are said to be pretty durable. There is a list of materials at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery#Cathodes [wikipedia.org] .

*notices Li(LiaNixMnyCoz)O2 and starts searching for more information*

Supposed to work well below freezing... (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | about 4 years ago | (#33054300)

CAN I HAS for my mobile phone please?

Seriously, it's a problem in the winter.

Re:Supposed to work well below freezing... (4, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 years ago | (#33054550)

Sorry, only works till -30 Celsius. So it may be a problem in countries that experience a real winter.

Re:Supposed to work well below freezing... (2, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33054710)

when it gets to -30 in your jeans pocket/coat pocket, you probably have bigger problems then your cell-phone battery..

Re:Supposed to work well below freezing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054846)

when it gets to -30 in your jeans pocket/coat pocket, you probably have bigger problems then your cell-phone battery..

Try to tell my wife that...

Re:Supposed to work well below freezing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054980)

-What Has It Got In Its Pocketses, Precious?

-Is that a -40 Celsius iPhone in your pocket, or you just happy to see me?

Re:Supposed to work well below freezing... (3, Funny)

antek9 (305362) | about 4 years ago | (#33054988)

Yeah, you'd better not lick your iPhone 4 that day. May be hard for some people.

electric trike? (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 4 years ago | (#33054304)

i would not mind getting a electric trike for those "short" trips around the local area.

Re:electric trike? (1)

h7 (1855514) | about 4 years ago | (#33054388)

Unless your trike is as safe as a car, you might as well buy a motorcycle.. But the trike wouldn't be as sexy as a car or a bike so it should be fine as you'd prolly be alone anyway

Re:electric trike? (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 4 years ago | (#33054396)

i was thinking that a trike would be more stable on troublesome surfaces vs a normal cycle, while at the same time not have the legal requirements for more elaborate vehicles.

Re:electric trike? (1)

h7 (1855514) | about 4 years ago | (#33054422)

Any motor vehicle doing decent speed would require licenses and such, unless it's the 2mph kind that old people use.

Re:electric trike? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33054726)

Yes, a trike still needs some licenses, but in some countries, significantly less then a car.

Here in holland for instance, you pay significantly less in road-tax for anything classed as a motorcycle (which trikes are)

Erm... (5, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 4 years ago | (#33054308)

Toyota? Or Toshiba?

Re:Erm... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054318)

Toyota? Or Toshiba?

As it is another fine "editing" job by Slashdot Hack KDawson, WHO KNOWS?

Re:Erm... (5, Informative)

kiwijapan (1293632) | about 4 years ago | (#33054328)

Toyota? Or Toshiba?

Toshiba, as in TFA. The title is just wishful thinking to get this in the Prius.
Seriously, one of the main issues (other than price) keeping people from buying electric or hybrid vehicles is the time it takes to recharge, which doesn't make them a viable option for long (read: hundreds of kilometres in one go) trips.

Re:Erm... (2, Insightful)

Traxton1 (154182) | about 4 years ago | (#33054344)

This is Slashdot. We can't be bothered to read articles. Clearly, not even the editors have time!

Re:Erm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054598)

Umm, you can definitely make that claim about straight electrics, but I've never seen a hybrid you had to plug in and charge.

Re:Erm... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33054578)

Toyshiba? Or Toshota?

"Toyota" really? (5, Funny)

Neoporcupine (551534) | about 4 years ago | (#33054322)

Is Toyota really involved or do all Japanese companies look the same to you?

Re:"Toyota" really? (3, Funny)

indre1 (1422435) | about 4 years ago | (#33054336)

Does this mean that Prius will now go 2 miles instead of 1.5 on batteries.

Re:"Toyota" really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054346)

Is Toyota really involved or do all Japanese companies look the same to you?

KDawson is a fat guy in his late 40's who doesn't leave his mom's basement. He has never seen a Japanese in real life.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054400)

Nobody has, considering "Japanese" isn't a noun.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 4 years ago | (#33054464)

but you just used it as one in the very sentence you attempted to refute the fact in! :)

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054566)

In meta-grammar (yes I just made that up) terms all words can be used as nouns if you're using the word to refer to the word itself rather than using the word to convey its intended meaning, but in a normal usage context the word "Japanese" is not a noun.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 4 years ago | (#33054470)

I don't know. I'm thinking the Japanese might disagree with you.

Re:"Toyota" really? (0)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054532)

In your sentence Japanese is used as an adjective to describe anyone who is Japanese, otherwise you would be able to say "I think Japanese might disagree with you". Saying stuff like "A Japanese" to me just sounds like some redneck racist talking.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

srothroc (733160) | about 4 years ago | (#33054604)

No, it's used as a noun, just like when you say "That American is very tall." "Japanese" can be used in that sense, though, yes, it does come across sounding a bit provincial or offensive, just as if you were to say "that Oriental." But then again, that's the standard in some countries -- for example, in Britain.

It's worth noting that you can use "Japanese" as a noun in other contexts as well -- for example, "Japanese has complex grammar."

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054834)

I live in Britain, the only person I've ever heard talking like that is my grandpa. I didn't really think of "an American", I do kind of think of that as a noun, though I definitely wouldn't call myself "a Scottish", in that case I'd say "a Scot".

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

javaxjb (931766) | about 4 years ago | (#33054626)

No, he used the plural form of the noun "Japanese" which is the same as the singular form -- look it up [reference.com] .

Re:"Toyota" really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054770)

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/japanese_2

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054588)

Actually using the OP's style, you'd have to say "I'm thinking Japaneses might disagree with you", since "the Japanese" would presumably refer to something of Japanese origin.

It's a bit like referring to Windows or Outlook as "Microsoft". I actually have met some people that do this, but I certainly don't envy their intellectual capabilities.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 4 years ago | (#33054646)

Hey, you're the one who said it wasn't a noun. I was just respectfully disagreeing.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33054844)

When referring to a person I really don't think it sounds like a noun, though someone else has pointed out a dictionary definition that says it is. And I have no problems saying "an American", so I guess it's just that I'm not used to hearing anyone say "a Japanese".

Re:"Toyota" really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054678)

So what language do they speak in Japan?

Japanese, right. The name of a language is a proper noun.

Of course, "a Japanese" is still wrong. But then again, most trolls wouldn't go to the effort of proper capitalization, so I must give him credit for that...

Re:"Toyota" really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054354)

kdawson in action, folks. Right in the title.

Re:"Toyota" really? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054368)

No, only the people look the same to me.

Re:"Toyota" really? (1)

Tuqui (96668) | about 4 years ago | (#33054458)

Somewhere it said that Mitsubishi Motors is working with Toshiba in the development, but Toyota...?

Toshiba (5, Informative)

relliker (197112) | about 4 years ago | (#33054340)

My original post's title did not have the company name in it :)

Re:Toshiba (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#33054504)

kdawson epic fail (again). You'd be best mailing timothy (the only actual "editor") to ask for a correction.

Dammit (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 years ago | (#33054698)

There goes my pithy slogan: "Toyota: there's no stopping them now!"

Re:Toshiba (1)

grimJester (890090) | about 4 years ago | (#33054738)

It's good to know the editors are doing something. We should be supportive of their attempts instead of discouraging them by jumping on every little mistake.

about advertising... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054348)

Why do they present it as "a rechargeable battery" [www.scib.jp] ? I mean, charged up to 90% of the capacity in 5 minutes... What was the marketing department thinking?

Time for the maths! (4, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#33054360)

A 2kg battery pack is 24V for 4.2Ah. That's ~100wh

To match the Chevy Volt's 16Kwh You'd need around 160 of these. That's for a tiny 40mile range. These aren't going to be the main power source of a car any time soon

Re:Time for the maths! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054414)

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt#Battery), the driver can only use 8.8kWh of the full capacity, to maximise the lifetime of the battery. Given that the lifetime of these batteries is the main draw, you might be able to get away with 90 SCiB-model batteries for a comparable capacity. Incidentally, that works out to about 180kg, comparable to the Volt's 170kg Li-ion pack, which is still an improvement given that Li-ion are one of the best battery types for energy/weight ratio. So it'

Re:Time for the maths! (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about 4 years ago | (#33054614)

You could maybe come up with a design that uses batteries like this for hard accelleration, climbing, and startup, when drain is high - and use the base-load batteries for other times, meanwhile shifting charge from the base-load back to the high-drain ones while driving normally. Such a design would get better use out of both battery types.

Re:Time for the maths! (1)

julesh (229690) | about 4 years ago | (#33054882)

A 2kg battery pack is 24V for 4.2Ah. That's ~100wh

Indeed. The energy density seems to be about 0.05Wh/g. Compare with about 3Wh/g for LiFePo4 batteries, which have the same safety benefits, and you start to see why this won't be appearing in EVs any time soon.

Use for laptops? (2, Informative)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#33054380)

According to Wikipedia, the disadvantage compared to Lithium Ion batteries is that they store less energy in a given space/weight, which is why this tech may not extend to small devices such as laptops.

Re:Use for laptops? (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about 4 years ago | (#33054802)

from what I see on their page, a 1kg battery can hold 48Wh (abigsmurf commented on this before you). A laptop might use somewhere between 15 to 30 W (for reasonable usage), so you get to use a laptop for 3 to 1.5 hours, depending on how hungry it is. I don't really get what the advantage of this new SCiB thing is, except that it is NOT Li-Ion.
Anyway, I understood you can buy (as in it's already available) a car that can go for more than 100km on one recharge. If I ever want a car for a city, that's what I'm buying (for the moment I get by walking or sub/tram/bus).
For a laptop, I will personally try to build (or get my cousin to build) a pedal generator (what I found so far on the internet is ridiculously expensive). Why waste time at the gym, when I can workout while at my laptop?

Question on power output (3, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#33054440)

According to this page they state "SCiBTM is a well-balanced battery that combines high power output and large capacity with power density almost equal to that of capacitors":
http://www.scib.jp/en/product/detail.htm [www.scib.jp]

Also on this page, they state 96 watts per kilogram (12 volt x 8 amp):
http://www.scib.jp/en/product/spec.htm [www.scib.jp]

Only 96 watts per kg? That's not close to a capacitor which is about 1000-10000 watts per kg. Maybe I'm missing something but what gives?

Re:Question on power output (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054506)

You confused power density and energy density. A cap may be 1000-10000 w/kg but that's energy density. It looks like these things are like caps in the sense that they can charge/discharge FAST compared to everything else. How much energy you get from it is a different matter.

A 9V battery is the same energy as several rounds of 9mm pistol shots, but it should be immediately obvious that 9V batteries aren't able to dump that energy as FAST as a 9mm...

Re:Question on power output (5, Funny)

kanweg (771128) | about 4 years ago | (#33054580)

Doesn't that depend on the speed of the battery?

Bert
In case of short replies, Slashdot hates people who can speed-type.

Re:Question on power output (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054510)

> Also on this page, they state 96 watts per kilogram (12 volt x 8 amp):

Batteries don't hold watts. Batteries hold Watt-hours or Joules. So watt the hell are you trying to say?

Re:Question on power output (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#33054668)

For a given weight, certain battery technologies can only provide so much power output. So it does make sense to say "power per kilogram" as well as the obvious "energy per kilogram". Try Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Supercapacitors_chart.svg [wikipedia.org]

A shame you probably won't read this and be able to learn though as you posted anon.

game changing, if true (5, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 4 years ago | (#33054534)

The electric motor beats the combustion engine in every way: Simpler, more reliable, much more efficient, more powerful, smoother and leveler output of power over a wider range of RPMs, quieter, smaller, lighter weight, and much less expensive. The big reason we don't use them everywhere is lack of a way to store sufficient energy that is 1) cheap, 2) lightweight, 3) quickly refillable, 4) durable, 5) not bulky. The humble gas tank is far better than the batteries, fuel cells, ultra capacitors, and other things (like flywheels?) that we have now. Solve these problems and bring the battery to the point where it is at least competitive with the gas tank even if still a little inferior, and powering cars with gasoline will be history so fast that the oil companies won't know what hit them.

Overhyped breakthroughs that really aren't are legion. But often it really does happen. 2009 was the year of the LCD. I'm still astonished at how quickly the CRT vanished last year. Over the last decade, the incandescent light bulb was pushed into niche applications as compact fluorescents took over But seems they won't reign long with LEDs steadily improving. The 1980s was huge, with the shift from vinyl records to CDs, the microwave oven, and the PC. The 1990s was even bigger with the Internet and the gigantic leaps in hard drive capacity. Doesn't seem there will be a year of the Linux desktop, more like a decade.

But this change seems very likely to be real. We've had electric motors on the sidelines for more than a century, and we know they work great. We've also had batteries a long time, so maybe we should be more cautious and skeptical about breakthroughs. But what we haven't had all that long are all these new battery materials such as lithium-ion. So I think that even if Toshiba's advance is less than it sounds, many others are working hard on the same problems, and we'll see huge improvements soon. Like LCDs were 5 years ago, batteries are on the cusp, and it really won't take much more to make the battery + electric motor combination better, much better, than combustion engine + gas tank. I'd be hesitant to buy a new car with a combustion engine. Might be obsolete very quickly, the way CRTs went last year. Combustion engine powered cars still have a few years, perhaps, the only question is how many?

Pretty soon, except those without their own garage (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054612)

Pretty soon, except those without their own garage.

When you can charge up enough for ~2-3hours driving in ~15 minutes with an hour or so between possible recharges, this will be fine for long distance driving.

If you drive less than 2-3 hours to work (actual moving, so traffic jams don't count) and have your own garage, it's good NOW.

If you don't have your own garage, then unless you drive off specifically to recharge, they still don't work.

Unless there's a way to get your home electric power to the car on the main street without someone jacking in to your tarrif, or most workplaces have a work recharge station, those without garages are going to be in a pickle.

Re:game changing, if true (3, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | about 4 years ago | (#33054650)

Great points. However I think that with continued development you're going to find that hydrogen is what eventually replaces gas as our power source of choice for cars. Eventually it will pull up, hook up, refuel, drive away. The biggest hurdle there is an efficient delivery system and excess power to create hydrogen with (need more nuclear). Batteries are great in that they're portable power but honestly they're nasty little things, especially when they burn or get damaged. I worked with some super-capacitors for a small company making hybrid electric buses for NYC, they were amazing in that they could hold 1000 Farrads at 2V, however they made a nice cyanide cloud if they burned...

Re:game changing, if true (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 4 years ago | (#33054700)

yes i can just se parents letting little Jimmy on a school bus that has a big hazchem warning sticker on the back :-)

Re:game changing, if true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054910)

...

"the biggest problem there is an efficient delivery system..."

Uh, yeah? A multi billion dollar delivery system might be the biggest problem?

I mean, think about it...how many gas stations are there? Let's convert one to hydrogen...think that'll cost a few bucks? I think environmental site remediation will cost a million bucks before you can even think about the hydrogen system... Ignoring that, you have to install the systems that are good enough to work in all conditions all the time. That's expensive. I'm guessing, say, $250,000+ even after the systems get cheap. Let's say that there's 100,000 gas stations in the country (A quick google search says there are more, but let's round down) and that's now $25,000,000,000...before processing plants and without site remediation.

And you have to have enough of them that customers will find one conveniently BEFORE they'll ever buy a car. And you have to have a bunch of cars BEFORE someone will put in a hydrogen station.

Impossible.

I do have electrical plugs all over my house, though.

And you mention safety with batteries...we each use dozens of batteries. I've never personally seen one that's caused real problems. I've never known anyone who has had serious problems that could have caused injury. I HAVE seen hydrogen explode though. How do you contain hydrogen in an automobile accident? Seriously, gasoline vehicles don't explode, despite what the movies show you--you have to have gas under pressure before it explodes, it will simply burn otherwise. Hydrogen? In a car? At 90+mph? Seriously?

Notgonnahappen.

Re:game changing, if true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054940)

Hydrogen is a wild goose... Your government (and oil companies) certainly would like that better than electricity because you can tax it the same way as gas.
In my opinion that is the real reason why we don't have electric cars. Look at any country's budget and check the amount received from gas taxes: from 10% to 30% !!

Re:game changing, if true (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 4 years ago | (#33054724)

You don't need to renew your gas tank every 6000 charges (admittedly, that's probably a lot of years in an absolutely ideal charging scenario, but the chances that it works like that with ordinary car-use are near-zero). When you do, it doesn't cost you as much as a *new* car (not even a replacement of the car you're driving, a BRAND NEW car). Refuelling your car does not require an enormous infrastructure and 100's or 1000's of amps flowing down a cable (sorry, but I'd rather have a petroleum fire on the end of my fuelling nozzle than have the equivalent happen with an electric charging cable - slight fire that you can extinguish versus KABOOM - plus the price of copper is so high at the moment that people are ripping up telephone lines and melting them down). Fuel stops don't need to have the equivalent of a small power station to run them. You can walk to the station if you run out of fuel and come back with enough to get you to the next fuelling stop. You don't need something like 75% of the weight of the car being fuel (and that weight never lessens no matter how "empty" you're running).

When everyone parks their car at home at 6pm, it doesn't cause a massive power surge larger than our entire towns take at the moment. If you want to go long-distance, you pack some extra fuel, or note the locations of various fuel stops across Europe - because even the tiniest town up in the hills where they barely have electric will have petroleum - I got from the UK through France, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and back on about £300-400 of fuel - that's the same as a quarter's worth of electricity for my house without an electric car, God knows what it would have cost in an electric car. You don't have to manage and dispose of nearly a ton of Lithium battery every time a car is scrapped (or, similarly, find nearly a ton of it when you build one) - there's more than enough nasty stuff in brake linings and exhausts but it doesn't make anywhere near as much waste.

Seriously, I'm a realist and have been saying for years that oil needs to STOP being used. But at the moment, the tech for electric is nowhere near good enough, hence the rise of "hybrid" (read: two cars wastage for the price of one) and slow-moving, short-range electric vehicles. We've had electric vehicles for decades - my milkman still delivers on a lead-acid-based vehicle that was introduced before I was even born (the 70's) - they charge overnight, do 30mph, and are slowly being replaced by the lithium battery variety. They are on the edge of plausibility but there are still a million, much more difficult, problems to overcome than just inventing a slightly more suitable battery. And in the end, grid-surge means higher peak-demand which means we have to use the only *practical* methods of generating that sort of electricity en-masse: Nuclear, coal, gas and other oil-based burning. All we've done is move the oil-burning into a power station and lost at least 10% of the electricity in storage/transmission.

Electric cars will stay the SSD's of the vehicle market for a while yet - expensive, with their own downsides, but provide clear benefits, and therefore used mainly by enthusiasts. I'm driving a 1997 car that's in perfect working order with no major mechanical changes made to it. It's the third or fourth car like that that I've owned. That sort of second-hand market will not exist for DECADES in the electric car market, because of the price of spares and batteries - that means most people who are driving second-hand cars (i.e. most drivers everywhere) will not be able to afford to change. Electric cars will cost a lot more for a long while and that means they risk being shunned entirely, or seen as a "luxury". It will take electric cars at least another 10 years after they are "solved" to take over our roads and for everyone "normal" to be driving them. Home maintenance of them is probably also out of the window - good for big dealerships, bad for local garages.

It will happen, eventually, with some tech. But electric cars are the SSD's and 3D movies of today. Nice, an interesting distraction, but not quite plausible yet. I don't know of a SINGLE station near me that has an electric charging point - which speaks volumes on both counts - car ownership and infrastructure readiness. The newspapers keep telling me that the Mayor of London is opening new ones all the time but I have yet to see even a single one. I live in London.

Electric cars may well have their day. At the moment, though, it's still just toys and we're still just playing. When an electric car enters a professioanl road-rally, THEN we'll start seeing them everywhere. I'd be interested to know how the fragility, etc. of an electric engine compares to that of a combustion one.

(P.S. very annoying to keep trying to write "petrol" instead of the *liquid* "gas", so I opted for "fuel" throughout).

Do not use batteries and gas tanks in cars (1)

ScaledLizard (1430209) | about 4 years ago | (#33054782)

Use electricity from overhead lines instead. Hauling energy around costs energy and slows your vehicle.

Re:Do not use batteries and gas tanks in cars (1)

srodden (949473) | about 4 years ago | (#33054868)

Overhead lines are practical for fixed, regular routes such that trams travel but are impractical for anything else, like turning into your driveway, going into a basement carpark or heading into a forest on holidays.

Re:Do not use batteries and gas tanks in cars (1)

ScaledLizard (1430209) | about 4 years ago | (#33054928)

Then use batteries only to bridge gaps between road segments with overhead lines. Or go even further: integrate overhead lines into rails mounted at a height of 4m to eleminate any threads that cars pose to pedestrians. I am seriously sick of breathing in exhausts of people's cars who come to visit to my city or being nearly overrun by them while I live in a place where all essential spots can be reached by bike, on foot or by tram.

Re:Do not use batteries and gas tanks in cars (1)

srodden (949473) | about 4 years ago | (#33055032)

I agree with your motivation but I still don't think it would be practical. Many vehicles are particularly tall or wide which means that the power infrastructure would need to be spaced far enough from the lane to not get bumped. Multi-lane roads would cause an extra challenge too. Rolling out the infrastructure would also cost an absolute bomb too with the obvious question "who is going to pay for it?" City folk aren't going to want to subsidise the rollout of roadpower to Hicksvilles across the globe and can you imagine how much power theft would happen?
I think people working on improved batteries and fuel cells have the right idea. As soon as that tech is compact, relatively efficient and simple enough for grandma to use, there will be a dramatic and rapid shift as the world moves to it propelled by green credentials and soaring petroleum prices.

Re:game changing, if true (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33054906)

Oh, they have many years to go. I know quite a few people with driving habits that make a 50 mile radius look pathetic. Hell, if you drive the main road north from the capital here in Norway towards the nothern parts of the country, you won't even make it across the Dovre mountain. That is if they deal with temperatures of 0 F and below in the winter. I got a friend who lives in the midwest US, don't think he'll get an electric any time soon either. Yes, maybe it will take over in the cities where people do their short driving, particularly the second car in the family leaving one longhaul family car. But I fully expect a car I buy now to be a bucket of rust well before the gas guzzler is an endangered species.

Re:game changing, if true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054996)

I know quite a few people with driving habits that make a 50 mile radius look pathetic. Hell, if you drive the main road north from the capital here in Norway towards the nothern parts of the country, you won't even make it across the Dovre mountain.

I think you confused "miles" (1,609344 km) and norwegian "mil" (10 km). 50 mile is 80.4 km or 8.04 norwegian mil. 50 miles radius won't even get you to Hamar.....

Re:game changing, if true (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 years ago | (#33054966)

The electric motor beats the combustion engine in every way.

Except for the reasons you later pointed out:

1) cheap, 2) lightweight, 3) quickly refillable, 4) durable, 5) not bulky

Those are some pretty major ways that intenral combustion beats electric.

Toshiba, Toyota... (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | about 4 years ago | (#33054574)

Aren't they all just Nakatushi Industrial Conglomerate anyway? *ducks*

refill (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054736)

Someone explain why we can't refill batteries with 'charged' chemicals (drain quickly first) as we would petrol.

Not that great (1)

da_guy2 (887308) | about 4 years ago | (#33054748)

With an energy density of 1/4 to 1/5 that of a lithium ion battery (in terms of volume and weight), I don't see this going too far.

Unless they're the same density materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054890)

Unless they're the same density materials, the volume and weight aren't the same thing. I think you're making up a problem here.

ENERGY DENSITY? (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | about 4 years ago | (#33054768)

What is the energy density of SCiB? And what is the energy density of a conventional battery? Thanks.

Slashdot headline wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33054870)

It's Toshiba, not Toyota.

Ridiculous (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 4 years ago | (#33054898)

Read TFA carefully, and you'll notice they never guarantee 6000 cycles AND 5-minute recharge at the same time.

Also a 5-minute recharge is NOT going to be very economical-- a significant fraction of the applied power is going to be lost as heat.

In a real car, you'll need a few dozen of these little bugers, and when you stack them, heat dissipation will be a huge issue. A real design
will require a very fancy liquid cooling system to keep the thing from melting down during charge and discharge. ... and they don't mention really important details, such as COST, or reliability or what kind of warranty they will provide.

And of course there is no way, not by a factor of FIVE, to get enough electrical power to recharge a nation of these.

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