Axion, a small lead acid battery maker is betting on their new type of lead carbon batteries for future hybrid versions of large family sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Axion believes that its new lead carbon batteries or PbC for short can allow for cheaper hybrid vehicles in the future by cutting costs on the battery side. Their PbC batteries weigh about 20% less than a comparable lead acid battery, but are still significantly heavier than any lithium based battery in use today.
According to Axion, their batteries would only be suitable for larger vehicles where weight is not as big of a concern. They target large family sedans, SUVs, and trucks as their primary market for their battery technology.
Axion has signed a deal with major battery supplier Exide. Axion will supply batteries to Exide as part of a multi-step contract that increases battery output over the course of the next few years. Exide will look into testing the batteries in several applications to find the right fit in the market for this technology and hopes to gain entry into the hybrid and plug-in field in the near future.
Many skeptics believe the technology is a failure from the start. They cite that lead based batteries are too heavy to be used in any hybrid vehicle and also focus on the lack of charging ability for lead based batteries if they become too depleted. Lead based batteries also have a limited life span in comparison with lithium and nickel based batteries.
Then biggest hurdle to overcome will be convincing automakers that they can use this heavy type of battery in a vehicle and still have strong fuel efficiency numbers. Some automakers may like the appeal of the low cost of the PbC battery, but it certainly has its down sides.
Fuel efficiency relies heavily on weight. Thus reducing weight in hybrids and plug-ins is a priority and outdated, overweight batteries do not seem to hold much promise as other battery makers constantly introduce lighter and lighter batteries to satisfy weight requirements for a given vehicle.