New lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles

A Japanese research team has developed small and safe lithium-ion batteries which could be used for electric vehicles. The team, formed by researchers of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Toyota Motor Corp., said the cell is made of solid electrolyte membrane and is one-200th of a millimeter thick.

Putting the new cells together would produce as much electricity as conventional liquid electrolyte batteries, it said. Conventional liquid electrolyte batteries pose risks of catching fire due to chemical reactions inside, while solid electrolyte batteries are free from such risks, the team said.

The new technology would be able to downsize batteries and trim weight without taking any special safety measures. The team said it has been successful in test-producing 5,000- to 6,000-nanometer-thick batteries. A nanometer is one-1 billionth.

With the new technology, a suitcase-size lithium-ion battery for a vehicle could be made sharply smaller, the team said. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used for electric cars and hybrid motor vehicles, personal computers and mobile electronic devices.