2009 Toyota FT-EV Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery
Toyota and the University of Tohoku have announced the development of a new technology that is able to boost the capacity of lithium-ion batteries. What's this new improvement all about? Current lithium-ion batteries are usually made from a polycrystalline form of lithium cobalt oxide that are connected with grains of graphite. The newly-developed batteries use a less graphite, just a single crystal. This frees more room for the storage of the ions that create the electrical charge. According to Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco, the improvement in storage is so large, that it can store up to 10 times more ions than current batteries which could result in a 10x increase in range. However, don't expect this breakthrough to result in amazing numbers form the plug-in Prius right away: Toyota says the technology needs at least a decade to come to fruition.
[Source: Automotive news (subs. req'd)]