The Ohm is designed as a smarter form of car battery
It’s a terrible feeling. You’re already late for wherever you’re going, so you rush into the car and slam the door shut. You put the key in, give it the usual twist and … nothing, not a peep. Dead battery. Many a driver has experienced this issue at one point or another, and most would prefer not to repeat it. The Ohm smart battery was designed to help make sure you never do.
The car battery is one of those items that most people really don’t want to think too much about. They want to replace it as infrequently as possible and then have it just work, every time, without fuss.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that the car battery is largely the big, heavy, electrochemical block that it was generations ago. It does its job pretty well, and you don’t really have to think about it much.
Silicon Valley startup Ohm Laboratories believes there’s some room for improvement and new thinking, though. More than just a battery, its Ohm battery is an energy storage and management system in a battery-sized case. Its integrated processor monitors power level and automatically cuts power when the battery drops to a critical level. So if you accidentally leave your lights on, Ohm will shut itself down before going dead and then turn itself back on within about 30 seconds when you start up the car.
The self shut-off system is a handy feature to have during the battery’s effective life, but there’s one dead battery issue it can’t help with: end of life. That’s why the battery also has a replacement warning system. The system beeps to let you know it’s time for replacement, and Ohm says it works more quickly and accurately than the battery warning light on the dashboard.
Unlike the lead acid construction of typical car batteries, Ohm uses a combination of lithium iron phosphate batteries and supercapacitors. It’s the supercapacitors that deliver the quick burst of electricity for starting. The LiFePO4 batteries, in turn, keep the supercapacitors charged when the engine is off, so they’re ready to go when you twist the key or punch the ignition button.