New GS battery aimed at eco-cars

GS Thailand, has developed a new battery which is aimed squarely at the new eco-car market.

Of course, these batteries are probably not all that special if you are used to living in a part of the world where virtually all batteries are modern, and maintenance free. And if you are like me, battery technology probably won't be getting you too excited. However, the effort from GS is appreciated and worth a mention.

So, as already alluded to, the new battery from GS is maintenance free! To you and me this means no longer having to monitor the water level in the battery, topping up from those cheap plastic bottles of distilled water every so often while. Okay, this is not a big job, but in 2011, it seems odd to me that there are still cars going around with these old batteries.

Apart from being maintenance free, the new GS battery has been designed with eco-cars like the Nissan March in mind. In order to keep fuel consumption low enough, and so keep the CO2 emissions down below the level demanded to qualify for eco-car benefits, Nissan fitted some March models with an ISS, or idling stop system.

The new Q-85 model battery is to go on sale next month, and will be suitable as a replacement battery for any of the some 40,000 Nissan March owners currently in the country.

Batteries like this will be important to the company, as the passenger car market expands and the pick up truck market shrinks.

The Q-85 was developed on the back of work by from GS's Japanese parent company. Key characteristics of the battery include the ability to accept higher charge levels and high current, while aiming for long life.

This should help the Q-85 to be more efficient than conventional maintenance free batteries. And this all sounds promising, however we can expect this to come at a cost, and that is likely to be a 5% higher price than other maintenance free batteries.

The Thai company aims to produce approximately 240,000 units of the Q-85 per year. Approximately 70% of these would be for the replacement market, with the balance (30%) going into new cars at manufacturing and exports.

To put this into context, this year GS will sell over 2 million batteries in the replacement market. This would give GS a share of over 40% of the total of 4.5 million units in a 10 billion baht market.