Batteries That Don't Die

New technologies are transforming an old workhorse, promising all-electric lawnmowers and hybrid military vehicles.

Published: 05-Feb-2006

Inexpensive and rugged lead-acid batteries, as everyone knows, can start a car in the dead of winter. But their excessive weight and their tradeoff between power and life -- the powerful version in your car doesn't last more than a few years -- have kept them out of hybrid vehicles and prevented their widespread use in all-electric vehicles.

Now the humble lead-acid battery has been gutted and redesigned, cutting its weight, extending its lifetime, and putting it in the same performance category as the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in today's hybrid cars, according to Firefly Energy, a Peoria IL company that's developing the new batteries for specific applications.

These new batteries are about one-third to one-quarter as heavy as traditional lead-acid batteries, and can be made about as powerful as nickel-metal hydride batteries without sacrificing longevity, says Mil Ovan, senior vice president and Firefly cofounder.

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