Firefly Energy Inc., of Peoria, Ill has patented a new type of lead acid battery they claim would be an excellent choice for hybrid and electric vehicle use. The battery is of a lead acid design, but differs from traditional lead acid batteries by using a carbon-graphite foam grid instead of a conventional lead grid. They claim that this will reduce weight significantly, ease manufacturing concerns, allow the batteries to charge quicker and increase the available form factors of conventional lead acid batteries.
Today, most home based electric vehicles use conventional lead acid batteries, as pointed out by my fellow blogger here. But, as mentioned in that post, one problem is the batteries weight. Vehicle manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles get around this problem by using nickel metal hydride batteries or lithium ion. There are inherent issues with both of these technologies as well, which have been covered in past posts, and I am sure, future posts as well.
Firefly Energy is not talking prices just yet, however they claim on their site that the technology promises to be a lower cost solution to some of the problems we have been speaking about than what is currently available. Firefly also claims that the U.S. Army is a client of theirs, which bodes well for the technology. Many have been quoted as saying that battery technology is what is holding back current electric vehicle production, so this news could certainly be a step in the right direction.
[editor's update: click here for an in-depth AutoblogGreen Q&A with Firefly co-founder Mil Ovan]
[Source: Detroit Free Press]