Alternatives to Lead-Acid Starter Batteries
Lead-free battery systems are already on the market in high-voltage electric and hybrid-electric vehicles,
and are expected to grow significantly over the next decade. These alternatives offer several performance
advantages over conventional lead-acid batteries. With additional development to achieve mass
production volumes, these alternative batteries could also compete with emerging 42-volt (higher voltage
battery systems to satisfy increased electrical demand) and the standard 12-volt systems.
Nickel Metal Hydride
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are currently used in high-voltage electric and hybrid electric
vehicles (e.g., Toyota Prius), as well as other products like portable electronics. NiMH has several
advantages to conventional lead-acid battery systems, including more that twice the energy density, and
three times the life expectancy.
Texaco Ovonic; Panasonic EV; Sanyo; SAFT; GP Batteries.
Higher power density, reduced weight and volume, increased battery
Less material use, improved fuel economy due to lighter weight and
energy storage capacity; potentially recyclable without need for
Recycling of NiMH batteries is technically possible but the
infrastructure is currently immature. Manufacturers of vehicles
containing these batteries have indicated that they will assist the
development of the recycling infrastructure. NiMH batteries may be
recycled using wet-chemical or electrochemical technologies, thus
avoiding the potential air emissions associated with smelting, which
is the process used for lead-acid battery recycling.
Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, common in computer and electronic equipment, are now emerging in
automotive applications. Li-Ion systems offer higher power density than both lead-acid and NiMH
batteries, providing enhanced performan