A new survey identifies runtime and
capacity as the most important battery features for portable applications,
but also suggests many engineers lack knowledge of some of the up-and-coming
battery chemistries, such as lithium-ion.
Nexergy, Inc., which created the survey and
sent it to 3,000 engineers and marketers, says the results showed most engineers select batteries based on their definition of performance
rather than cost.
foremost, performance is key," says John Costa, executive vice president of
Nexergy. "People feel you can truly achieve a competitive advantage with a
better designed battery pack." Costa added while runtime and capacity
fared best among respondents, cost was the fifth most important feature among
Nexergy learned many engineers were only vaguely familiar with lithium-ion
battery technology, despite its growing popularity in new products and in the
that people were just not educated on emerging battery technologies," Costa
says. "Many weren't aware of lithium-ion or they simply didn't know about the
trade-offs that are involved in using it."
Costa says the survey questioned engineers about the trade-offs associated with
various lithium-ion chemistries and found 49 percent of respondents couldn't
respond to those inquiries. Many respondents weren't aware of such issues as
energy density, safety, discharge rate and cycle life and how they differ from
one battery chemistry to another. Those issues may be critical when choosing
the right chemistry for a notebook PC or a handheld power tool, he says.
be a lot of engineers who are familiar with lithium-ion," Costa says. "But
within that category, there's standard lithium-ion, lithium polymer,
high-drain and iron-phosphate. It's not as simple as saying 'lithium-ion' and
engineers need to know the differences."