New battery types are being developed by makers of lead-acid batteries to take advantage of the growth in fuel-efficient, stop-start technology. With this system, the car's engine shuts down when the vehicle's not moving but automatically powers up when the accelerator is pressed.
Paul Lacy, manager of technical research at advisory firm IHS Automotive, said that by 2016, most automakers would already have an application of stop-start technology. Stop-start technology is believed to cut fuel consumption by up to 15% in normal driving.
The $12 billion lead-acid battery industry has the following top players: Johnson Controls Inc., Exide Technologies, Japan's GS Yuasa Corp. and privately held East Penn Manufacturing Co.
Wunderlich Securities analyst Theodore O'Neill said that there wasn’t a good hybrid technology that could use lead-acid batteries before the advent of the stop-start technology. He believes that the industry could be reshaped by the new battery types.
Some analysts predict that smaller players such as Axion Power International could be targeted for a takeover. Standard non-electric vehicles that have stop-start technology are called micro hybrids.
Hybrids have two or more power sources and to save fuel, they also use regenerative braking.
Stop-start technology can work on a conventional lead-acid battery but the more recent solutions such as absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries, lead-carbon batteries, and micro-hybrid flooded batteries are better suited to the technology. [via Reuters]