A New Battery Tech Could Revolutionise Electric Cars

A Japanese company has pioneered a low-cost, recyclable, high-performance battery technology that could see electric vehicles charging just as fast as a petrol car filling its fuel tank. Power Japan Plus' Ryden dual-carbon cells are starting production in a few months, and could appear in electric cars within a couple of years.

Image via Shutterstock

The new cell has a number of innovations that could prove to be advantageous for electric cars. It's largely comparable to lithium batteries in terms of energy density, but has a much improved lifetime, with a rated 3000 discharge/recharge cycles before noticeable degradation versus the 300 of existing consumer-grade cells. Power Japan Plus' new development can also charge up to 20 times faster than lithium — and with a lithium-based car like the Tesla Model S topping up 80 per cent of its battery in half an hour, a Ryden cell-equipped EV could theoretically receive a long-distance charge in only 90 seconds.

Using carbon for both the anode and cathode of the battery means that the new cell is more sustainable than current battery production methods — it's entirely recyclable, for one. There's also a hugely reduced risk of thermal explosion due to the simpler chemistry, so the new cells don't need the same cooling and over-the-top safety features of current electric vehicles. While Power Japan Plus is making a small number of cells in-house, it will licence the tech out to other battery makers for large-scale production and use in electric cars and other types of transport.

If Power Japan Plus succeeds in getting its Ryden batteries into an electric vehicle — it's searching for partners, after first installing the new cells in satellites and medical devices — the dream of a low-cost, long-distance, high-powered electric vehicle could be a reality in the near future. [Power Japan Plus]



    This is actually rather far off. The "production" they're talking about going into is to actually test their tech. It's still in the development stage, so another 5 years away at least.

    Also the "carbon" cathode is cotton. Don't know why they've omitted it from here.

    Last edited 26/05/14 11:00 am

      Indeed, this is awesome! How come more people aren't commenting on this story?
      You seem to know a bit about the new product cycle for this kind of thing.. why the massive delay?

      Would this 5 years be taken up by testing, optimization and design of the mass-production systems, or are there other steps? It seems they already have a proof of concept, and have worked out how to make it economically viable.

    How are the current lithium batteries more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel cars?

    If they are not recyclable, and if they do not last on average more than 300 recharges, isn't this going to create a whole new environmental problem i.e. what do we do with our old car batteries?

    Not to mention what goes into these batteries in the first place...

      Lithium batteries are actually recyclable. The wording in this video was done very well to make you think they aren't. But that's just marketing. (FYI this is a neutral comment)

      Last edited 26/05/14 4:29 pm

      Current generation lithium ion batteries can be recharged more than a thousand times, and if you discharge and recharge the battery 5% ten times, that only counts as half a cycle, so since most people won't totally run dry the battery and recharge it completely each day, current generation batteries should last for a long time. As they age, their capacity will shrink bit by bit, but they don't just one day shut off completely, so if you can take the lesser capacity, you can probably keep going well beyond the specifications before recycling and replacing the battery packs. By the time that happens, new battery tech like the one talked about in this article may be in the market, which should last even longer.

    A question for you guys (I emailed the company as well)

    It seems the carbon they are using is derived from cotton. So does that mean they dont use graphite at all?

      I'll shoot my contact over there an email to find out in a little more detail...

        Thanks Campbell. Ill also post the reply I (hope to) get.

      They're still developing the technology. There are other aspects like durability, shelf life and charge-release* that they need to figure out. Might be great having the capacity and all, but if you can't discharge the cells at a slow enough state, or they discharge too fast when not being used, then it's not actually that useful.

      *that's not the technical term. Can't remember what they call the rate at which a cell releases charge when in use.

    Tesla slightly undercharges it's 18650 Lithium batteries (ie not to full capacity) and doesn't let them discharge as low as the manufacturer specs. Claims that this still provides around 95% of the manufacturer's rated charge capacity but significantly extends the life of the batteries.

    The fact is, there are dozens of new battery technologies in development and/or "on the horizon". We'll have to wait and see what can be commercialized and and see what scales up etc.

    "It’s largely comparable to lithium batteries in terms of energy density"

    research into this shows its 4 times worse than lithium.

    I saw someone saying something about the battery might not be able to discharge fast enough! Well in this case think about adding a large capacitor in parallel with the battery. It will compensate for any instant power needs!
    There are a numerous electronic solutions to overcome any situation, problem was only the storage capacity/cycles/environment/life, which if testing goes good, my respects for the japs!

    "...car like the Tesla Model S topping up 80 per cent of its battery in half an hour, a Ryden cell-equipped EV could theoretically receive a long-distance charge in only 90 seconds…"

    Er…. well, yes assuming you can find some way of providing a charger capable of producing and transferring 3.2MW of power! The connection cable conductors would have to be about 100mm in diameter! Not wildly practical. Next! MW

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