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Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd showcased an ultra-small vehicle equipped with a high-output lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery being developed by the company.

The vehicle was exhibited at the 6th Int'l Automotive Electronics Technology Expo, which runs from Jan 15 to 17, 2014, in Tokyo. The battery is capable of discharging up to 100A of electricity and being charged to 90% in six minutes. The battery can be used for 10 years if it is charged and discharged at ordinary temperatures once per day.

Murata considers that the market for Li-ion batteries, which is determined mainly by capacity and price, will further expand if they feature a high output power or long lifetime. The battery is targeted at mobility scooters, unmanned carriers, elevators, stationary electrical storage systems and uninterruptible power supplies in addition to ultra-small vehicles.

This time, Murata showed the motor-driven ultra-small vehicle in its booth as an application that makes use of the high-speed charging and discharging capabilities and long life of the battery. The vehicle was the "ZieD Α1," which was prototyped by a venture firm based in Yokohama, Japan. It was developed under the concept of "a beautiful vehicle having the minimum necessary size for carrying two people."

Murata will start to mass-produce the battery in April 2015. The venture firm is considering employing the battery for the vehicle, which is scheduled to be commercialized in 2015.

Murata will apply the production technologies used for its main products (multilayer ceramic capacitors) to the volume production of the battery. In the production of multilayer ceramic capacitors, there is a process that accurately stacks thin unfired ceramic sheets (green sheets). Because the cell of the battery has a structure that stacks positive and negative electrodes instead of rolling them, it became possible to apply the proven production technologies.

There are some pre-existing high-output batteries such as Toshiba Corp's "SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery)" (See related article). But Murata plans to launch the battery in the "environment/energy market," on which it focuses, claiming that, with its high power supply voltage of 3.2V, it enables to reduce the number of cells if the voltage is the same.