The undisclosed quick-charging battery technology would enable 150-mile range.
By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor
Honda is working on a new battery technology that by 2022 would permit fully electric cars to run 240 km (about 150 miles) on a single 15-minute charge. First reported in Nikkei Asian News, Honda also is looking for a partner to collaborate with on its new, quick-charging battery. The company currently sources batteries for plug-in hybrids from Panasonic and others.
Most electric vehicles now available take at least twice that long to reach an 80% charge—even when using a high-speed charger. In Japan, fast chargers now provide 150-kW maximum output, but industry plans look to raise that to 350 kW starting in 2020. Similarly, European governments and carmakers are planning a network of several thousand 350-kW charging stations to be in operation by the same year.
While Honda did not disclose the technology involved, the 2022 timeframe would be within the window predicted for the emergence of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. Manufacturers like Toyota have been trying to solve slow charging time issues by using solid-state batteries that employ a solid electrolyte rather than the liquid used in conventional lithium-ion battery cells. Thus far, however, advocates of the solid-state solution haven’t been able to overcome limitations involving temperature range, current density, and the difficulty of producing examples priced competitively with standard Li-ion cells.
Toshiba Making Strides, Too
In a related development, electronics manufacturer Toshiba recently announced new technology that effectively doubles the capacity of a battery while significantly reducing its charge time.
Working to improve lithium technology, Toshiba has effectively doubled the energy-density capabilities of its SCiB line of battery products. As a result, says Toshiba, the battery can undergo “ultra-rapid” recharging—enough to charge the 32-kWh battery of a “compact” EV for about 200 miles—all in only six minutes.
Toshiba first introduced its SCiB rechargeable battery cells in 2008. SCiB differs from most other lithium-ion batteries in that it uses lithium titanium oxide for the anode. The company says that in 5,000 discharges, SCiB car batteries experienced a diminishing capacity of less than 10%, a significant advance. Toshiba claims the new battery can add up to 200 miles of range to an electric car after just six minutes using a high-power charger, but doesn’t define what it considers “high power.”
Since 2022 is still five years away, automakers continue to explore methods of extending the range of electric cars using current technology. The 2018 Leaf from Nissan Motors, for example, offers quicker charging times than the current model and 30% more range—more than 500 km on a single charge.