January 13th, 2012

Rechargeable batteries have come a long way from the early days.

Well, maybe.

Sometimes, I wish the manufacturers had waited before introducing them. Without giving away my actual age, as a kid I can remember the first set of “rechargeables” that made it’s way to our home. They were made by General Electric and consisted of a rudimentary “cook your battery” battery charger and a set of Ni-Cad cells.

My parents – in good faith – tried them, and because of lousy performance, eventually gave up. The promise of “never buy batteries again” was soon laughable and this impression was compounded upon a huge base of consumers. This soon gave way to the tremendous growth of our throw-away battery mentality that persists to this day. And despite the efforts of the green people and blogs like this, we still fight the “do these things really work?” mentality when it comes to rechargeable batteries.

Yet, the fault lies clearly with manufacturers and marketers of batteries - both in the disposable, throw-away market and with those who produce rechargeable technology. While there are as many brands of batteries as there are breakfast cereals, very few companies take the time to educate the public on the effective use of rechargeables.

Why? Two reasons, actually three.

First, if you are a large battery company that sells billions of disposable batteries, why would you spend time and money teaching people to stop using them? It makes no economical sense. People buy stock in these public companies and the shareholders want profit, not prophets. Let’s face it, it takes a bit of “missionary” work to bring people around to a rechargeable mentality – and those who spend the time and resources are often labeled as “fringe” or affectionately – tree-huggers.

Personally, I’m not your typical “green” person. For me to make a switch to green technology, it has to make sense financially too. So, in all honesty, when I see a family, business, church, or school going through batteries like a kid in a candy store, I take it as a personal challenge to convert them over to rechargeables. I know that by switching to rechargeable technology they can save hundreds to thousands of dollars year after year.

And that leads me to the second reason why most battery companies do not take the time to educate: Their rechargeable technology isn’t where it should be. If a company was selling a rechargeable battery that could only be used 50 times, as a consumer, I’d have to consider the ROI (return on investment.) Is it worth it to switch? Why spend extra money upfront when I can buy a boatload of disposable batteries and achieve the same effect?

For a company or business to make a switch to rechargeables, we have to offer quality rechargeable battery chargers and quality rechargeable batteries. Ansmann batteries and chargers – while they cost a little bit more – make it worth the effort in the long run by providing high recycles and performance – in many – cases up to 1000 recharges. (see my previous blog – on refreshing battery chargers here) The majority of battery companies only offer cheap, minimum quality chargers and batteries that boasts of high-capacity but deliver much less over few recycles. So, as consumers continue to buy low quality chargers and batteries, they wind up perpetuating the “do these batteries really work?” mentality all over again — which then drives them back to disposables.

Finally, here’s the last reason why battery companies spend little time educating on rechargeable technology — and it’s really more of an excuse than a reason. Does the marketplace really want rechargeable technology? If you take a look at the products offered by the large battery companies, you’ll find very little in the way of high-tech battery chargers. They are typically low cost, and rudimentary in nature. The rationale is along this line of thought: “Let’s provide those consumers who want to try rechargeables just enough – at as little cost to them. Let them then determine if it’s worth the energy to stay with rechargeables.”

If I was not an informed consumer, and marched into the Radio Shack or Wal-mart, bought a cheap $10 charger and a $7 pack of rechargeables, I would soon forget about using them. It would not be worth the hassle. Or maybe I would fail to see how I could convert my whole household to rechargeables — and just use it for my Wii controllers. There is a rechargeable solution for just about every application but it just takes a little planning to do it right.

So, as the title of this article states: “The Ever, Never Changing World of Rechargeable Batteries” — has much changed?

Perhaps you’re reading this article and have yet to switch to rechargeables. Or you’ve tried them in the past and gave up. I encourage you to get my Free Report – “3 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Rechargeable Batteries” by clicking here.

Or maybe I’m preaching to the choir and you figured out how to best use rechargeables. Share your experience with others. Tweet it, FB it, or leave your comments.