5 electrifying facts about batteries
We’ve all got a drawer, shoebox or bin filled with new AA, AAA and 9-volt batteries — though never, seemingly, the ones we need in the moment.
Yet increasingly, that collection is less useful. From laptops and flashlights to lawn mowers and doorbells, we live in a world of rechargeable batteries.
Even with advances in rechargeable technology, lithium-ion batteries, the type used now in cellphones, laptops, electric vehicles and many more devices, will remain the standard for a long time. The market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 times in the next decade, the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries predicts. That organization has a goal of recycling 90 percent of electric vehicle, grid-storage and consumer electronics batteries by 2030.
1. Evolving technology. Research is underway to make rechargeable batteries safer, including the addition of built-in fire extinguishers in case of catastrophic overheating.
2. A good deal. A single rechargeable battery will do the job of 10 disposable alkaline batteries over four years on average, according to the website Wirecutter.
3. An old concept. The oldest type of rechargeable battery is lead acid, the kind used to start gas-powered cars.
4. Older than you might think. Benjamin Franklin coined the term “electrical battery” in 1749.
5. New demand. Apple’s iPhone, launched in 2007, was key to popularizing rechargeable devices. Its internal battery is not removable.
— Chris Morris