California Autos Examiner

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lead-Acid: I'm Back!

Now that I've got a shiny new array of solar panels sitting on top of ACATT world headquarters, I'm trying to find ways to maximize their benefit. One such idea is to switch to an electric vehicle for my short commute to the "real job." To be certain, there are options out there already, but I'm longing for something a bit different. What could be more different than a modern electric vehicle using an array of advanced lead-acid batteries? Advanced lead-acid? Yup. Seems that researchers have found a way to breathe life into a moribund technology. How'd they do it? Foam. As in black graphite foam. Using this advanced material to swap out lead plates has a whole host of advantages: less surface area to give the same power, graphite foam doesn’t sulfate like lead grids do, the ability to both send out power and recharge is claimed to be dramatically better, and the materials involved are much cheaper than NiMH and Li-ion batteries.

Sounds great, right? So who has taken up the researchers on their offer? Electrolux is the first customer for the Firefly battery and is focusing its efforts on lawn and garden application. City buses in Peoria, Ill. are also using the batteries. No cars yet. However, who knows what other companies are doing behind the scenes?

Full story can be found here. You can find Firefly Energy's homepage here. To read up on how Oregon is trying its best to become an electric car leader, click here.

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