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Japan Li-ion battery producers target high-output apps

Posted: 10 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:li-ion rechargeable batteries? mobile phone? pc?

Manufacturers of Li-ion rechargeable batteries are now seeking new markets after years of chiefly concentrating on mobile phones and PCs. Companies like Sony Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd, both of Japan, are turning their attention to new applications such as power tools, cordless vacuum cleaners and electric bicycles. These markets are currently dominated by Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries, with very small penetration by Li-ion batteries.

According to the companies, the mobile phone and PC sectors are rapidly shifting to cutting-edge applications and demanding larger capacity.

Sony recently developed Li-ion rechargeable batteries capable of handling high currents. The company has begun shipping its V and VT series of high-output batteries. By switching the anode from LiCoO2 to Li(Ni-Mn)O2, with Ni and Mn content, the new batteries are safe to use in higher temperatures.

Internal impedance, which presents a problem when drawing high currents, was also reduced to about 50mO (about 40 percent below prior designs) by adopting thinner electrodes and other measures. Sony's new 26650VT battery, for instance, measures 26mm-by-65mm and can continuously output 50A in 20C discharge (discharge in 1/20 hour).

Sony plans to initially market the batteries to professional-use power tools and gradually expand to more common power tools and other applications. Other companies, like Sanyo Electric, have announced their intention to follow Sony's lead.

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