Toshiba will begin shipping in March new battery that recharges 90 percent in five minutes
(Associated Press WorldStream Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) TOKYO_Toshiba will begin shipping in March a quick-charging new battery for forklifts, construction machinery and other industrial use, the electronics maker said Tuesday.
Toshiba Corp.'s Super Charge ion Battery, or SCiB, can recharge to 90 percent of its full capacity in less than five minutes and has a life cycle of more than 10 years, Toshiba spokeswoman Hiroko Mochida said.
Toshiba, a newcomer in rechargeable batteries, said the new lithium-ion battery will eventually be used in hybrid and electric cars. Toshiba is not giving a date for that application but doesn't expect it until about 2010, Mochida said.
The new battery will first be used in electric bicycles, motorcycles, forklifts and construction machinery.
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 to recharge.
Toshiba said its new battery is safe, with low possibility of rupture or catching fire, problems that have beset some lithium-ion batteries used in laptops.
Toshiba's new battery can also work in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Centigrade (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit). Cold weather tends to hamper battery performance.
"This is a truly innovative battery," said Toshiba Corporate Vice President Toshiharu Watanabe.
The Tokyo-based electronics maker said global sales of the new fast-charging battery are expected to reach 100 billion yen (US$893.7 million; 607.2 million) by fiscal 2015.
Battery innovations are expected to be key in making hybrid vehicles more widespread, because lighter and easier-to-recharge batteries will make it easier to put more models out as hybrids and also help cars travel longer as electric vehicles.
Many companies are battling to develop better batteries as soaring gas prices make hybrids more attractive.
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