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Panasonic Touts  Battery Innovation at CES 2006 With New And Improved Oxyride™ Extreme Power™ Batteries

compiled by Shirley Georgi

At the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January 2006, Panasonic displayed its  new and improved Oxyride™ Extreme Power™ batteries based on nickel oxyhydroxide (NiOOH) chemistry.  First introduced to U.S. consumers in July 2005, the original Oxyride batteries represent the first major innovation in primary battery technology since the Alkaline battery in 1965.  The new and improved Oxyride batteries, available in spring 2006, have been proven in independent lab testing to last longer and deliver the best value-per-picture in digital still cameras when compared with Alkaline batteries from Panasonic, Duracell and Energizer. PC World editors are impressed with the technology and honored Pansonic’sOxyride Extreme Power battery with a 2006 PC World Innovation Award.

“For almost forty years the battery industry has remained stagnant, while the consumer products that they power have evolved into higher draining devices,” said Brian Kimberlin, director of marketing for the Panasonic Battery Corporation of America.  “For the second time in the past year, Panasonic has responded to consumer demand by delivering high performance, low cost, primary batteries that can keep up with today’s digital lifestyles.  Panasonic is the first to market the nickel oxyhydroxide formulation found in Oxyride in the United States.”

Adobe Photoshop ImageChart is courtesy of Panasonic. +

Test results

New and improved Oxyride Extreme Power batteries have been proven, using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) test protocols, to deliver longer battery life than Alkaline batteries in digital still cameras.  In head-to-head comparisons of AA Alkaline batteries, the new Oxyride batteries were also proven to have the best value-per-picture versus Duracell and Energizer Alkaline.

The chart, Figure 1,  is based on independent lab testing (ANSI) data and is a performance comparison showing the number of photos a digital camera was able to take using AA Duracell Coppertop, Duracell Ultra, Energizer Max, Energizer E2 Titanium, Panasonic Digital, Panasonic Oxyride and new and improved Panasonic Oxyride batteries.  Test results indicated that   that both current and new and improved Oxyride batteries outperform Duracell and Energizer Alkaline by as many as 3.2 times.

Consumer Reports also tested Panasonic’s new oxyride batteries along with Duracell’s new Ultra digitals and and Energizer’s E2s. Oxyride batteries did last 50 percent longer than the batteries being tested when used in a high-tech drain device such as a digital camera.  However, for applications requiring constant “low-drain” such as in toys and CD players, Oxyride batteries did not last as long as the Duracell Ultras or the Energizer E2s. However, Oxyride is the star performer for primary batteries used in digital cameras.        

Panasonic’s chart, Figure 2,  shows how Oxyride provides the best value-per-picture.  Duracell Coppertop’s were proven to be 81 percent more expensive than new and improved Oxyride batteries; Duracell Ultra’s were 61% more, Energizer E2 Titanium 265% more, Energizer Max 118% more, existing Oxyride batteries 22% more and Panasonic Digital Alkaline 62% more.

The chemistry

New and improved Oxyride Extreme Power batteries are the product of enhancements to the battery materials and manufacturing process used to create the original Oxyride batteries.  The new batteries combine newly adapted cathode materials (nickel oxyhydroxide and newly-developed manganese dioxide and graphite) with advanced vacuum pouring technology that allows the volume of electrolyte in the battery to be increased, leading to a higher Voltage of 1.7 Volts.   

Markets - The United States

In the United States, Pansonic has traditionally been third in sales of disposable batteries when compared with Gillette (Duracell)  and Energizer.  However, with the popularity of digital cameras and the 50% greater lifesspan  of Oxyrides, Pansonic could gain in sales revenue in the Alkaline category.  Oxyride batteries are found in at Walgreens, Target and other retailers.

Adobe Photoshop ImagePansonic’s oxyride battery has superior pulse performance making it last longer in camera and other pulse load applications. (Photo is couresty of Panasonic.) +

Markets - China

Another strong market for Oxyrides could be in China. The new longer lasting Oxyride battery was introudced into the country’s retail market in the fall of 2005.  

Digital cameras and MP3 players are having  a mjaor impact on the Chinese CE (consumer electronics) market.  CCW Research of Beijing notes that sales of digital cameras in China were 2.684 million in 2004; this figure was an increase of 196.9 percent year-on-year.  In reference to MP3 players, 3.3 million were sold in 2004; a 144 percent rise from the previous year,  so the market for Oxyrides used in high drain devices should be very positive.   Mitshuru Ohara, manager of Pansonic’s battery sales division in China stated, “We aim to take a 10 percent of China’s dry battery market by 2007.”  

Adobe Photoshop Image Data from independent lab tests show that the improved OxyrideTM battery  delivers the best  value per picture when compared with Alkaline batteries from Panasonic, Duracell and Energizer .  +

Markets -global

In a reported  interview , “Panasonic to recharge battery sector,” with Li Weitao of the China Daily (09/15/05), Tetsu Kimoto, president of Panasonic Corporation of China, said, “Globally we aim to sell 200 million units of Oxyride batteries this year.”  Panasonic is the world’s largest maker of dry batteries.  The company claims    about  a 26 percent share of the global marketplace.

Panasonic consumer batteries are manufactuered by  Matsushita Battery Industrial Co., Ltd. and marketed in the United States by Panasonic Battery Corporation of America.  Matsushita Battery Industrial Co. Ltd.,  is a wholly owned subsidiary of Matshushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.

Microsoft Excel ChartIn just five years, from 2001 to 2006,   the price of an digital camera is lower, almost 23 percent; this is because there are many new models which are relatively inexpensive.  In just the past year, prices are projected to fall almost ten percent.

Because of the  price decline in digital cameras,  2006 sales in terms of dollars  are projected to be lower than 2005 by almost 4 percent.  

Panasonic will benefit  from unit sales since this  total number has escalated every year.  CEA (Consumers Electronics Association)  notes that the forecasted digital camera shipments would increase by 23 percent in 2005, as compared to 2004.  If the estimate for 2005 and the projected sales of 2006 are accurate, units sales will rise almost another 6 percent.   

Although many of the “serious” digital camera owners purchasing the expensive cameras use rechargeable batteries, the majority of owners purchase  primary (nonrechargeable) batteries which can be discarded and replaced.    

As Mark Swann said in his article, “pixel perfect,” (Vision, Jan./Feb. 2006, p. 12), “The digital camera has revitalized the imaging industry.”     Eastman Kodak, which  IDC Corp. estimates  is now the top seller of digital cameras in the United States, had more than one half ($1.8 billion) of its sales from digital.  Antonio M. Perez, Kodak’s chief executive officer and  president,  said, “ Our digital revenue exceeded our traditional (film)  revenue for the first time on a quarterly basis....”  Although he is optimistic about the growth of  digital cameras, he also sees sales slowing as the business matures.   However, even if sales do slow down, the Photo Marketing Association notes, “Customers will continue to need larger memory cards, camera accessories, batteries and imaging services....”

(Data in the chart is from  “U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts 2001-2006” by CEA. ) +
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