OnStar has announced that it will add a backup battery to its systems. Non-rechargeable lithum technology from Ultralife will be used. Ultralife currently derives most of its sales from the military, but many of us have a better chance of encountering its HiRate series of long-shelf-life cells in smoke detectors. The manufacturer states that it will start shipping product in the fourth quarter of this year, so expect to see the improved system in early 2006. Considering that OnStar is currently being heavily marketed as a safety feature, this enhancement makes a lot of sense. Not only will it still allow the system to function in the event of a nasty crash (where a loss of power is common), but it will also come in handy during the not-so-uncommon occurrence of a dead battery.

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