By Evan Ackerman
As a consumer society that’s so reliant on batteries, it’s sometimes surprising how infrequently major innovations take place. Or maybe when it comes to pace of innovation, we’ve just been spoiled by the rest of the consumer electronics industry. But either way, Toshiba is planning to launch a substantially improved type of lithium-ion batteries in March of next year. Called SCiBs (“Super Charge ion Batteries”), they use lithium titanate nanocrystals (duh) to recharge the battery to 90% in 5 minutes, with a useful life of over 5,000 cycles.
You’ve probably noticed that the batts in the picture don’t exactly look like a friendly set of AAs. No, unfortunately the industrial sector (i.e. non-consumer) has first dibs, meaning that the first place you’re likely to see SCiBs are going to be in hybrid electric (or entirely electric) cars, where the quick recharge rate could potentially overcome one of the major downsides of cars like the Tesla Roadster: the 3.5 hour recharge time.