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Is this the battery breakthrough electric cars need?

Posting in Technology

Tesla might want to put its plans for a mega battery factory on hold. There's a new, supposedly better, battery technology that could revolutionize the electric vehicle industry (and many more) if lofty claims hold up.

Power Japan Plus announced that it has developed a dual-carbon battery that performs better than the lithium-ion batteries popular in everything from laptops to electric cars.

The company makes a number of impressive (too good to be true?) claims about the advantages of their new battery technology, including:

  • Energy density that's comparable to lithium-ion batteries.
  • Charging that is 20-times faster than lithium-ion.
  • A long lifespan, with 3,000 charge/discharge cycles.
  • The "safest high performance battery chemistry ever developed."
  • And the ability to easily replace other batteries in the manufacturing process.

On top of all that, the company says the battery is made with zero rare metals, rare Earth metals (bad news for China), or heavy metals. Plus, it's 100 percent recyclable.

There is reason to believe this isn't all just wishful thinking. The man who designed the battery, the company's chief technology officer Kaname Takeya, also helped design the batteries used in the Toyota Prius and the Tesla Model S.

Plus, this isn't a technology that we'll have to wait a decade before it's fully developed (hopefully). The company says that production will begin this year. But those first batteries the company produces will be for "specialty energy storage markets," like medical devices and satellites. For companies hoping to use the battery for electric vehicles, and in other large industries, the company plans to license the battery technology.

Of course, these impressive claims will need to be verified independently (car companies getting into a licensing agreements will be a good sign) before we're completely convinced. But until then, here's a video from the company touting the possibilities this new battery technology presents:

So is this the electric car battery of the (near) future? It's difficult to tell. But we could get a sense of that this week as the company plans to show off the technology at the Electric Drive Transportation Association Conference & Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

Photo: Power Japan Plus

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— By on May 19, 2014, 3:40 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure