Lead-acid versus EEStor
Here are a couple of pieces that appeared recently in Technology Review: one relates to EEStor’s recent announcement with Lockheed Martin and what it means for the company, while the other is a look at a new type of hybrid lead-acid battery with an integrated supercapacitor that claims to last four times longer than conventional lead-acid systems and to perform just as well as nickel-metal hydride systems — but at a fraction of the cost.
Obviously, for those watching the “EEStory”, the impact on transportation, power management, and portable electronics would be immense if the tiny company’s almost unbelievable claims prove true. In the story, EEStor CEO and founder Dick Weir hints that another announcement — this one “technical” — will be coming out soon. Meanwhile, makers of advanced lead-acid batteries, such as the “UltraBattery” discussed in the TR story, believe this new twist on 150-year-old technology (which they argue doesn’t get enough respect these days) could satisfy market demands for low-cost, high-performance hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles — at least until lithium-ion technology gets to the point where it’s cheap enough, safe enough, and reliable enough to make a difference.
Let’s not forget the recent announcement from Shai Agassi of Project Better Place and the Israeli government. It seems lithium-ion batteries (the Wall Street Journal reports that A123 will supply some of them) will be at the center of this very ambitious — and I must say exciting — experiment. All of these announcements and innovations around electric cars and batteries keep reminding me of that Eddie Grant song from 1983 called “Electric Avenue”: “Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and then we’ll take it higher.”
Okay, now I’m aging myself.
NOTE: While we’re on Electric Avenue, forgot to mention that Mississauga, Ontario-based battery maker Electrovaya, fresh off its joint-venture announcement with Malcolm Bricklin’s Visionary Vehicles (a hopeful electric car maker), announced Wednesday that it will soon be launching a low-speed electric vehicle called Maya-300 that will have a 120-mile range but be limited to 35 miles-per-hour. “It will be ideal for fleet operators in cities, universities and parks as well as the many households with a second or third vehicle for urban driving within a local neighborhood,” the company said in a statement. It did not disclose when the cars would be available or what the price might be, but clearly it’s targeting the same market as ZENN Motors and other low-speed EV makers aiming for the urban, second-car market. Click here to see a picture of the Maya, which will be powered by Electrovaya’s lithium-ion SuperPolymer battery technology.