Engineers at Japanese automaker Toyota claim to have tamed volatile lithium-ion batteries while increasing power at no significant extra cost, according to newswire Reuters.
Lithium-ion battery safety concerns not only exist in mobile devices, think of Samsung’s heartbreak, but also electric vehicles.
Using cells sourced from Panasonic, Koji Toyoshima, the chief engineer for the Prius said the company had double braced and triple braced its battery pack to make sure they’re fail-safe.
Toyota is going to use the system in its new Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid version of the world’s top-selling vehicle.
The control technology precisely monitors the temperature and condition of each of the 95 cells in its new battery pack.
It can “identify even slight signs of a potential short-circuit in individual cells, and will either prevent it from spreading or shut down the entire battery,” said Hiroaki Takeuchi, a senior Toyota engineer in this project.
Engineers also shrunk the distance between the anode and cathode, doubled battery capacity to around 8.8 kW/h, while only increasing the battery pack size by around two-thirds and its weight by a half.
Toyota has improved the precision in battery cell assembly, ensuring battery chemistry is free of impurities to avoid thermal runaway.
The new car has enough energy to go around 60 kms (37.3 miles) / 25 miles (40.2 kms) in the US when fully charged, before using petrol.