Aussies Invent UltraBattery, For Ultra Hippies

You know, everything is usually better when you put ultra- in front of the name, except in the case of alternative energy automotive technologies. UltraBattery? Are you kidding me? Is that really the name? UltraBattery is the work of a team of researchers at Australia's national science agency. The "ultra" aspect of this battery is its ability to out-ast traditional battery systems. And despite how much I rag on its name, the technology isn't too shabby.

It works by combining the tried and true lead-acid battery with supercapacitors. These UltraBatteries are capable of quickly charging and releasing energy over millions upon millions of cycles, with little to no battery degeneration. A Honda Insight outfitted with an UltraBattery completed a 100,000 mile track test in Britain, running on the battery alone. In addition to the increased lifespan, the batteries reportedly provide 50-percent more power and are 70-percent cheaper than the current nickel metal-hydride batteries used in hybrids and other electric vehicles.

If you want to put on your Negative Nancy cap, one downside is that the battery pack added an additional 37 pounds to the curb weight of the Insight. That UltraBattery must be one huge biotch. [Autopia]