Alibi V.17 No.35 • Aug 28-Sept 3, 2008 

Feature

Charge

How to build a battery for the 21st Century

In a drab, cramped room at the back of Lee Hart's basement, there is a faint and somewhat eerie hum. More than a hundred large, mostly rechargeable batteries from around the world rise along the walls and sprawl across the floor. A few are hooked to machines with quivering meter needles measuring the amount and durability of their charges; the data are being fed into a 1987 Zenith XT computer with dual floppy disks stationed on a table in the corner. There are the traditional lead-acid batteries of the sort used in most cars. There's a stack of the nickel-metal-hydride batteries Hart salvaged from an EV1, the crushed vehicle that starred in the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? And there are the lighter, exponentially more expensive lithium-ion batteries.

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