Hewlett-Packard early next year will begin offering a new line of "Enviro" batteries for laptop users who want to upgrade to longer-lasting and more sustainably designed batteries.
HP and Boston Power have been testing the Sonata lithium-ion batteries for three years. The batteries were designed specifically for laptop use. After three years of use, the batteries will be able to keep 80 percent of their initial charge.
Laptop battery time typically starts to drop significantly after 150 or so charges, or cycles. Boston Power says that its batteries can be charged 1,000 times and get "like new" performance.
An HP representative on Tuesday said that the Sonata batteries will cost between $20 and $30 more than traditional batteries and will be available on some consumer laptop machines. There will be a three-year warranty, and no system changes are required.
The Enviro batteries are marketed as more environmentally friendly for a number of reasons, according to Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder and CEO of Boston Power.
The company chose not to use any PVC plastic or heavy metals--cadmium, arsenic, or mercury--in the manufacturing process. The batteries can also be recycled, said Lampe-Onnerud, adding that the battery has received a number of "green" certifications.
More simply, Lampe-Onnerud argued that purchasing one product that lasts for at least three years, rather than buying multiple batteries, is more environmentally sustainable and economical.
"Our tests found that 40 percent of consumers over three years have replaced laptop batteries up to five times. If each is $150, that's almost the cost of the whole system," she said. "I think this will change the appetite for sustainable products. Instead of purchasing something expendable, they can have something that lasts."
Boston Power is in discussions with other computer manufacturers, she added without disclosing any names.
The company also plans to release a portable lithium-ion battery for adding charge to cell phones or other gadgets and intends to enter the auto battery market, Lampe-Onnerud said.