The main problem with modern electric vehicles (EVs) is the range and recharging issue. Tesla’s Roadster, for example, is probably one of the most advanced and developed pure EVs in the world, and it’s still struggling with range and recharging issues even as it nears production. But all of that may be a thing of the past - Toshiba has announced a new battery technology that can be recharged to 90 percent of total capacity in just five minutes, lasts 10 years and can operate at nearly any temperature.

A lifetime of up to 5,000 charge cycle is expected, thanks to a breakthrough in lithium-ion technology. Although the more familiar lithium-ion batteries found in laptops and similar devices are known for their tendency to spontaneously ignite, Toshiba says its new technology isn’t prone to such failure. The batteries are already well into development and could see use in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2010, according to MSNBC. The company expects sales of the new battery to approach $900 million by 2015.

With this sort of fast-charge capability, fuel-station like charging stations become a real possibility - it takes at least five minutes to fill most petrol or diesel tanks. All that remains is building the stations - it’s pretty safe to assume huge amounts of electricity and the resulting possibility of spark or discharge will not be sharing lot space with standard combustible fuel-pumps. As we recently reported, Shai Agassi’s Project Better Place is aiming to do just that.

Suddenly it seems that the future of EVs isn’t so far-off or fanciful. Who knows - maybe we’ll all be zipping around in zero-tailpipe-emissions EVs before the next decade is out.

Thanks to Gus for the tip!