A portable, light weight battery with greater range through higher energy densities
First developed in the 1850s, lead acid batteries currently represent the majority of global rechargeable battery sales and remain the incumbent chemistry of the battery industry.
Lead acid batteries serve a diverse array of applications across the automotive, telecommunications, backup power, and electric vehicle markets. Lead acid batteries will continue to experience broad market acceptance because they are widely distributed, highly recyclable, and very cost effective. Throughout history, the industry has adopted numerous incremental improvements in materials and components, including the introduction of VRLA batteries. Common forms of the “maintenance-free” VRLA battery are: backup batteries for UPS, motive batteries for electric bikes, scooters and powerchairs, and the premium automotive starter and start-stop battery. Because VRLA batteries are “sealed,” they are preferred to traditional flooded lead acid batteries, which require regular maintenance and have the potential to spill acid. As VRLA batteries provide benefits in safety and convenience, they do not inherently improve other key characteristics such as energy density. Opportunities for incremental improvements in performance have become impossible to achieve within current lead acid battery construction. Additionally, in some applications VRLA performance is falling short of the required energy density, power density, or reliability.
Other more exotic battery chemistries, such as Lithium Ion (“Li Ion”) or Nickel-metal Hydride (“NiMH”) batteries, may offer enhanced performance but carry higher cost, increased complexity in packaging, and reliability concerns. These factors often compromise their ability to meet performance requirements for many applications.
The lead acid battery market has grown from $25B to $30B from 2007 to 2012, and is expected to reach $35B by 2017.
While large segments of the global lead acid battery market – such as 12V automotive SLI (starter, lighting, ignition) batteries have matured, other segments are growing more rapidly. High-growth segments are: