Smarter, lighter car battery vies to replace lead acid types

August 14, 2015 // By Rich Pell
A new drop-in car battery replacement from Ohm Laboratories - called Ohm - is claimed to offer a smarter and lighter [starter] car battery for existing conventional-fuel-engine vehicles.

Weighing in at six pounds, compared to about 40 pounds (2.7/18 kg) for conventional lead-acid batteries, the Ohm car battery combines electrical double-layer capacitors (ELDCs) - or supercapacitors - along with a small LiFePO4 battery that keeps the supercapacitors charged when the engine is off. Onboard circuitry is included that monitors the battery's potential output, and packaging is about the same size as a standard car battery for drop-in replacement.

The Ohm battery is claimed to last more than twice as long as conventional lead-acid batteries - which have a three-year life on average - and is not affected by cold weather. In addition, it contains no acid or lead and is safe for the environment, says the company.

According to the company, the Ohm battery will automatically turn itself off to avoid being drained if the car lights are left on or if it gets critically low, and will never need jump starting. Key specs include:

550+ Cold Cranking Amps
7 year average lifetime
Rated for -30°C to +50°C
10 Ah reserve capacity
Group 35 form factor
Dimensions: 9.0"x6.8"x6.8" (23 x 17 x 17 cm, approx.)

The Ohm battery is currently planned to ship in 2016. Price is expected to be about $200.

Ohm Laboratories: www.getohm.com