Pretec takes a step from flash to car batteries

Computex 2014: No we aren’t joking, they have an innovative car battery

Pretec LogoYou might recall Pretec from their past flash drive creations, this year at Computex they were showing off car batteries too. SemiAccurate will say that they had the best lithium iron phosphate + supercap battery at Computex, but seeing as it was the only…

Getting back to our serious side, Pretec has a long track record of thinking outside the box. They are a small flash maker so they have to compete on innovation and design, and they do both well as this battery shows off. That would be the innovation part, not the design, that part is closer to the end of the article. Normally it is hard to get excited about a car battery but Pretec did two things we hadn’t seen before, chemistry and an added supercap.

Pretec Lithium Iron Phosphate car battery

Pretec car batteries look like, well, car batteries

The first big change is the chemistry, instead of the traditional lead/acid mix they went for a lithium iron phosphate battery. This has some very serious advantages over lead/acid, a claimed 1/3 the weight, 5x the lifespan, wide operating temperatures, lower self-discharge, and low toxicity materials. None of the Pretec claims are out of line with what the basic chemistry change can provide so we take them at face value.

Stepping way outside the box is the supercap addition, they added one that is large enough to start the car from. The idea is that since supercaps charge and discharge far faster than a battery, you can put enough energy into the battery to start it in seconds. Instead of hooking up the charger and waiting, you hook it up, wait a few seconds, and theoretically you have enough juice to start the engine. From there the battery will slow charge as you drive.

Why doesn’t everyone use a lithium iron phosphate battery in their car if it is better in every way? Cost most likely and Pretec didn’t have an MSRP for this unit yet so we can’t say for sure what that cost will be. It won’t be cheap but it will be better in every way. If the supercap addition does what it should, it could be a killer app for car batteries. That I wasn’t expecting to say about a Computex product but that is why trade shows are interesting.

Pretec cow suit UBS drive

I am a cow, moo

Diablo jokes aside the mainstay of Pretec’s business is still flash and interesting designs for flash drives at that. This year there weren’t any new ideas on the tech side but there were a whole lot of new designs like the above cow suit USB drive. It won’t change the world but kids and Asian schoolgirls seem to love this kind of thing so they probably sell well. Even if you don’t they were nicely done and solidly constructed.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate