Dec 19, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Check http://www.calcars.org/carmakers.html in a day or two and you'll find that we've added Hyundai to our table of 16 carmakers and auto start-ups that are in at various stages of design and evaluation of PHEVs. Below is the brief news report about comments from an unnamed company official -- until it's an official announcement, we're not expecting much.
We've received dozens of emails about Toshiba's long-awaited announcement of its new long-lasting lithium battery (the company announced plans for this more than two years ago). It's important to read the reports carefully -- this battery will start with availability in 2008 for industrial applications! It sounds promising; we've excerpted several news stories -- the company spokesman is not directly quoted but says the version of this battery for deep-discharge automotive applications, which is still in the lab, could be ready around 2010.
Hyundai Motor mulls developing plug-in hybrid car
Date: December 18, 2007
Hyundai Motor, Korea’s largest automaker, said Tuesday (Dec. 18) it is considering developing a plug-in hybrid car, a move expected to follow bigger rivals such as Japan’s Toyota Motor and General Motors of the United States.
Hyundai is studying ways to develop the next-generation hybrid car that can be recharged at home electric outlets, but no decision has been made yet, said a company official.
"We are just in the stage of studying the idea," the official said, denying a news report earlier in the day that claimed Hyundai has already started developing the plug-in hybrid car at its research and development center in Hwaseong, 70 kilometers south of Seoul.
A hybrid car runs on both gasoline and electricity.
Hyundai lags far behind its bigger rivals in introducing hybrid models. Currently, Hyundai has no commercial hybrid models and plans to mass-produce conventional hybrid vehicles in 2009.
Together with its affiliate Kia Motors, Hyundai is the world’s sixth-largest automaker.
Toshiba to enter rechargeable battery market
AFP Dec 11, 2007
TOKYO (AFP) — Toshiba Corp. announced plans Tuesday to start selling rechargeable batteries next year, launching itself into what is seen as a promising but increasingly competitive market.
Toshiba described the Super Charge ion Battery, or SCiB, as a "breakthrough rechargeable battery" that can be fully recharged in five minutes and has a lifespan of more than 10 years if completely run down and recharged once a day.
"The excellent performance of the SCiB will assure its successful application in industrial systems and in the electronic vehicles markets as a new energy solution," said Toshiba vice president Toshiharu Watanabe.
Japanese firms are vying to develop lithium-ion batteries that can be used in hybrid or electric vehicles, but there are safety concerns following recalls of millions of potentially flammable laptop computer batteries made by Sony Corp.
Watanabe said Toshiba was satisfied that its battery was safe.
"The possibility of the battery catching fire is extremely low and it will not explode even if it ruptures," he told a press conference.
The company expects to start shipping the battery from March 2008 and has set a global sales target of 100 billion yen (895 million dollars) by the year to March 2016, by which it aims to have a market share of 10 percent.
Toshiba hopes the SCiB will be used in battery-powered bicycles, motorcycles, electric forklift trucks and construction machinery, all of which already use rechargeable batteries, Watanabe said.
It also sees potential for their use in petrol-electric hybrid cars, pure electric vehicles and mobile telephones.
"Toshiba will ride with the trend set by automobile companies. When hybrids and electric cars become prevalent, the SCiB will probably be applied to them," said Toshiba general manager Shoshi Kawatsu, who oversees the project.
He declined to comment whether his company was in talks with car manufacturers.
"We will continue to advance development in this area so that when other companies launch their own batteries we will be ahead," he said.
Breakthrough battery for electric cars?
Toshiba promises 'energy solution' with nearly full recharge in 5 minutes
MSNBC staff and news service reports
The Associated Press contributed to this report. updated 7:29 a.m. PT, Thurs., Dec. 13, 2007
TOKYO - A new battery that can be recharged to 90 percent capacity in under five minutes and lasts 10 years will start shipping in March, Toshiba Corp. announced this week, hailing it as "a new energy solution" for cleaner transportation.
Toshiba plans to initially make the quick-charging Super Charge ion Battery for electric bikes, forklifts, construction machinery and other industrial use. It can work in temperatures as low as minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
A newcomer in rechargeable batteries, Toshiba said the lithium-ion battery could be used in hybrid and electric cars by 2010, Mochida said.
Battery innovations are expected to be key in making hybrid vehicles more widespread, because lighter and easier-to-recharge batteries will improve efficiency. They could also spark mass-produced plug-in hybrids and and even resurrect the idea of all-electric vehicles that use no fossil fuel.
"This is a truly innovative battery," said Toshiba Corporate Vice President Toshiharu Watanabe, emphasizing its potential "in the electronic vehicles markets as a new energy solution."
Most lithium-ion batteries in use now, such as those in laptop computers, require hours to recharge to full capacity, with the fastest ones requiring about half an hour.
Toshiba also said its new battery, which is estimated to last 5,000 charges, is unlikely to rupture or catch fire, problems that have beset some lithium-ion batteries used in laptops.
The Tokyo-based electronics maker expects global sales of the new fast-charging battery to reach nearly $900 million by fiscal 2015.
The Li-ion awakens: New lithium-ion cells are hardier and charge faster
Dec 19th 2007
The SCiB is one member of a new generation of Li-ion batteries. They are being made safer after the recall of millions of laptop batteries in 2006, when some caught fire. But they are also being made better. And that should allow them to move out of the gadget market and into electric bicycles and motorcycles, fork-lift trucks and construction machinery. According to Donald Saxman, who studies the battery industry for BCC Research, they should be powerful enough for cars, too, within five years or so. Indeed, they are already being used in some experimental and exotic electric vehicles, such as the 210kph sports car developed in California by Tesla Motors.
Breakthrough lithium battery charges to 90% in just 5 minutes
December 13, 2007
Toshiba have stunned the world with their announcement of what's pretty much the holy grail in Lithium battery technology – the Super Charge ion Battery, which recharges up to 90% of its energy in just five minutes, and has a lifespan of over 10 years. Slow charging has been the key hurdle to public acceptance of battery-electric vehicles as viable distance travelers, so this breakthrough has all sorts of implications for the automotive industry as well as being a very welcome upgrade to a whole host of other portable devices.
The first of Toshiba's groundbreaking SCiB packs will ship in March 2008 to an industrial systems market that Toshiba forecasts being worth 100 billion Yen by 2015. There's no mention of when the technology is likely to hit the consumer market, but with such rapid charging ability, ultra-long life and high resistance to rupture and combustion, the SCiB looks like the first of a new generation of battery cells that will allow electric vehicle drivers to top up their cells in nearly the same amount of time a petrol vehicle takes to fill.
To this end, Toshiba is working on a high-performance version of the SCiB targeted at the automotive industry.
The development of high-powered, long-lasting, rapid-charge battery cells offers the automotive industry a simple and extremely efficient alternative to Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, whose competitive advantage thus far lies in their ability to refuel in a similar manner to petrol-powered cars. Batteries, it can be argued, are much more energy-efficient, delivering as much as three times more power from the electricity grid to the wheels as fuel cell vehicles are able to.