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Toshiba joins battery battle

TOKYO--Starting in 2010, Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp. says it aims to make three million lithium ion vehicle battery cells a month. 'Automotive News' reports.

Automotive News

Automotive News

The goal is to penetrate the market for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Battery packs for hybrid cars can contain hundreds of cells.

Toshiba now makes 150,000 cells a month, mostly for electric bicycles.

The company says its so-called SCiB lithium batteries are safer and recharge faster than conventional lithium ion batteries. A spokesman did not say how many cells would be required per vehicle, because the number depends on the vehicle's performance requirements.

Toshiba plans to spend ¥20 billion ($196.5 million) to expand production to cars by 2010, the spokesman said.

It will join the ranks of Japan's Sanyo Electric Co., Panasonic EV Energy Co., and NEC Corp. in supplying lithium ion batteries to automakers.

Toshiba says its batteries use a lithium-titanium oxide negative electrode. That makes the batteries more stable than typical lithium ion batteries, which use carbon-based negative electrodes.

Toshiba's variety generates less heat and reduces the risk of fire, the company says. The batteries also recharge to 90 percent capacity in 5 minutes.

(Via: Automotive News)