Panasonic’s new start-stop battery can be connected in parallel with a vehicle’s lead-acid battery, allowing it to provide power to the vehicle when at a stop.
Depending on how big of a battery that you have in a conventional vehicle, you might be able to just turn the key on and run the fan and radio for just a little while before there isn’t enough charge left to start the engine.
Really, there is only so much reserve capacity in a typical lead-acid battery, which is really only designed for starting the vehicle. It does this very well, and has excellent temperature characteristics which make it an ideal battery for conventional vehicles.
One of the latest vehicle technologies to hit the market, engine start-stop technology, puts an unusual amount of strain on the lead-acid battery. Start-stop battery vehicles shut the engine down when coming to a stop and at other times when the engine in a conventional vehicle would be left idling.
Once the driver releases the brake, the engine restarts automatically. During idle time, that is, with the engine stopped, audio, lighting, and climate control continue to function, drawing an exceptional amount of energy from the battery.
The typical lead-acid battery isn’t really up to this kind of cycling, which could lead to premature failure. Panasonic’s new nickel-metal hydride [NiMH] start-stop battery pack can be connected in parallel with a start-stop vehicle’s lead-acid battery, allowing it to provide power to the vehicle when at a stop. The NiMH battery’s new electrolyte can withstand temperatures up to 170°F in an engine compartment, while lithium-ion batteries must be kept in the passenger compartment, because their cycling rates start to deteriorate above 140°F.
Panasonic’s NiMH battery development is just in time, estimating the 1.1 million start-stop vehicles on the road in 2012 will balloon to about 48 million by the end of the decade. The addition of the Panasonic Energy Recovery System seems pretty seamless, as it doesn’t require temperature controls or additional electronics or even a convertor. The simple system might even be used as an add-on for current start-stop vehicles.