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The history of car batteries and how they changed over time

car battery types

A car battery is one of the essential parts of every vehicle. Although the technology of designing and manufacturing vehicles have significantly changed over the past decades, the car battery remains a crucial element in every car or truck.

Car batteries have not always looked the way they do now. In this article, we’ll bring you a brief but exciting history of car battery types, trying to describe how they changed over time.

Car battery: the origins

Since first cars were very limited in their structure and functions, they didn’t have any battery to provide the necessary power. Instead, they used a crank for igniting the engine.

The first cars that included a battery were built in the 1920s, and that’s the time when car batteries became the essential part of motor vehicles. Primary cells used to be refilled, and they were connected to an electric charger that provided the ignition to the car. As you may conclude, these batteries were very limited in their performance, since they needed to be continuously charged and maintained.

The voltage of the older car batteries was rather modest – only 6 volts. The interesting fact is that these first cells were positively grounded and directly connected to car’s Chassell. It was not until the 1970’s that this structure changed – that was the point when the batteries and the whole system became negatively grounded.

Types of batteries

The first batteries were made as early as 250 B.C., but they couldn’t be used in a vehicle since there were none of those at the time. However, the first batteries that were similar to today’s were invented in the 18th and improved further in the 19th century. Scientists like Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani were among the first ones that tested and experimented with batteries. Their efforts lead to inventing primary car battery, which was made of lead acid. This was a spectacular thing for the automotive industry since the vast majority of cells was made of lead acid.

In the 1970s, the first electric vehicles started to appear. Since they were running solely on the electricity, they needed a power station that will provide sufficient energy for the motor.

This requirement leads to the invention of lithium-ion batteries, which proved to be more efficient and durable for the modern electric cars.

However, the most popular type of batteries is still lead-acid batteries. Besides their popularity in the process of production of vehicles, lead-acid car batteries are among the most recycled items in the US.

In 1918, The Hudson Motor Car Company was the first automotive company on the market that started using standardized car batteries. The organization that sets the standards for batteries is Battery Council International.

Today’s batteries are running on 42 V, which is a standard established in the 1990s. The main reason for setting up one voltage range is the invention of hybrid vehicles, which required more power to run