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Same old battery. - Malcolm
While nearly breaking my back lifting the battery out of my sons car I had this thought:
Car batteries have never changed in basic design for well over a 100 years, you would think by now there would be advances in battery technology to give us something smaller for cars, just look how small the batteries are getting for mobile phones and watches etc.. Surely car manufacturers would like to fit something lighter to their vehicles. Seems to me car batteries are stuck in a time warp.
Anybody out there know the answer?
Regards Malcolm.
Re: Same old battery. - Andrew Hamilton
Car batteries use lead which is much heavier but cheaper than Nickel cadmium or even rechargeable silver batteries. To start the car you need the high current flow lead acid batteries provide economically. If you are prepared to pay for it you could have a fuel cell and a smaller battery, however would you pay the exorbitant sum required!
Re: Same old battery. - Brian
It is about time that a solar panel to keep the battery topped up was built into cars as part of the basic design, say incorporated into the bonnet.
The cost would be pretty low, probably well under £100.
It would be a safety aid as sometimes one parks without lights because you wonder if the battery will last until the morning. With dawn about 04.00 at the moment the battery would have three or four hours input before you got out of bed.
Re: Same old battery. - bogush
Why do car batteries get bigger?

Someone told me once that the lead plates deteriorate and a lead sludge collects on the bottom.

Eventually it shorts out the battery.

Your battery has a 1 year guarantee: how deep is a year and a day's worth of sludge for 95% of batteries?

You want to sell a "better" battery - slap a two year "guarantee" on it?

Losing market share - 3 years.

Or was it just an urban myth?
Re: Same old battery. - Papaumau
I agree that basic batteries have not moved on in technology for years, and yes, it is probably bcause they are cheap to produce, and they have built-in obsolecence.

A good argument for NOT improving them !

While the fuel-cell is almost upon us, it will probably be a while before it is in mass-production, so this is not the answer either !

The solar-panel thing IS here already, as I have had a small solar-panel on my dashboard for years which keeps my battery conditioned. ( available from Innovations catalogue ).

Re: Same old battery. - John Slaughter
Problem is engine starting current. A fuel cell would have to be pretty big to supply the 100's of amps needed on a cold morning, or it would need a storage system ie a battery. NiCad or similar higher technology batteries wouldn't survive long given the abuse a car system hands out (high drain followed by high charge rate) and suffer with porblems of memory effect which reduces capacity. Also, they don't work well at low temperatures.

Solar cells would actually be expensive and would still need a storage medium.

So, this is why the traditional lead acid battery remains the component of choice.


Re: Same old battery. - Jon Todd
JS: Are you the John Slaughter who was an expert in elcricity at the National Electricity Research labs.
Re: Same old battery. - Brian
If you re-read my message you will see that I was only suggesting a built-in solar panel as a convenient top-up for the battery, not as a replacement.
I do have one of the plug-in panels mentioned by Papaumau, but you have to carry it around and remember to plug it in, hence the suggestion of a built-in option.
On the charging topic, I wonder if any research has been done into using a bank of thermocouples (everlasting, no moving parts, no drain on engine power output) in the exhaust as an alternative to the alternator.

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