Lithium technology breakthrough? Toyota will enter the field of pure electric vehicles

(Original title: Warming to lithium-ion, Toyota charges up its battery options)

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 31 / PRNewswire-FirstCall / – Toyota researchers in Japan say they have mastered the technology to keep lithium-ion batteries stable. With new technology, scientists can increase the capacity of the battery without significantly increasing the cost, which gives Toyota a good opportunity to enter the popular all-electric vehicle market.

Although Tesla and Nissan began using lithium battery technology about a decade ago, Toyota has been stuck in this area for fear of cost control, size control and security is not guaranteed.

Lithium battery stability has also been questioned, the recent explosion of the Samsung cell phone battery is to blame.

Toyota’s adoption of lithium-ion battery technology will drive further development of lithium-ion batteries, but also to the Toyota open all-electric vehicle market opportunities to enter the Toyota has been avoiding the emerging markets. Prior to Toyota has been promoting hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Toyota said its Prius Prime series will soon launch lithium battery models. A charge can travel about 60 km, then you can switch to the traditional gasoline engine to continue driving. However, due to the electric car mileage measurement methods are different, this Prius Prime listed in the United States that the mileage is only 40.2 km.

Many of the lithium batteries used in the market are made of nickel, cobalt and manganese batteries. This battery capacity, charging time is short, in safety is also superior to other lithium battery technology. But it is definitely not perfect, if there is design, processing or operational aspects of a mistake, this battery will still overheat.

“It is very difficult to develop a lithium battery technology that can be used for ten years or hundreds of thousands of kilometers,” said Koji Toyoshima, principal engineer of Toyota Prius. “Our primary task is to ensure the safety of the battery. To the battery to do two or even three layers of protection.

Currently in the traditional Prius models, Toyota mainly uses nickel-metal hydride battery technology. This model is also widely considered to be “green” car pioneer. In 2009, when Tesla and Nissan were just starting to bring lithium-ion battery-driven cars to the mass market, Toyota also experimented with lithium-ion batteries in the plug-in hybrid Prius.

Now, Toyota’s own lithium-ion battery technology, self-confidence from the improved battery temperature and condition monitoring technology. They can be 95 battery pack for accurate monitoring.

“Our control system can monitor any subtle signs in each battery pack that may cause a short circuit, then the system will prevent the occurrence of a hazard, or simply turn off that battery pack,” said Hiroaki Takeuch, a senior engineer involved in the development of the technology.

Panasonic, which supplies the battery pack for Toyota, also supplies a battery pack for Tesla. Toyota, Panasonic, the two companies to improve the battery assembly technology to ensure that half-way will not be mixed with impure chemical composition. Even if the assembly process of the incorporation of small metal particles or other impurities, may lead to short circuit, overheating accident, serious or even cause an explosion.

Takeuchi said: “Our production cell battery workshop and the processing of semiconductor clean workshop is not exactly the same, but also very close.

Battery experts say the technology companies are using to monitor the operating conditions of the battery is more and more complex, is now each company’s strict trade secrets. Eric Rask, principal research engineer at the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago, adds, “Charge management, security management, and algorithm development are all gaining ground in the company’s internal development. The term strategic property of the company, can give the company a huge competitive advantage.

Thanks to the emergence of new technologies, Toyota can also make the size of the battery smaller, so that the battery cathode and anode by closer. Now they have increased the capacity of the battery to about 8.8 kWh, while the size of the battery is only about two-thirds larger, the weight increased by half.

Experts in the field of lithium-ion battery, the price of lithium-ion batteries in five years has dropped by as much as 60%, the current price per kilowatt-hour is about 145 US dollars. Dramatically lower battery prices have allowed Toyota to develop more compact and efficient battery packs while improving the reliability of the monitoring system. But Toyota declined to disclose specific battery costs.

Although Toyota has always believed that hydrogen fuel cell is the real green car, the United States and China are encouraging auto manufacturers to develop all-electric vehicles, so more in line with their implementation of the new energy plan.

“The development of lithium-ion battery technology for hybrid and plug-in vehicles will allow us to introduce all-electric vehicles in the future,” Toyoshima said. “Different batteries can provide energy support for different power models.”

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