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Sanyo Japan is selling a new nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery called eneloop that it claims overcomes the technology’s previous main shortcoming: self-discharge.

Traditional NiMH batteries self discharge at around one percent per day.

Sanyo claims eneloop batteries retain 85 percent of total charge after one year of non-use and as such it has “Realised a rechargeable battery that can challenge dry-cell batteries in user-friendliness by making use possible immediately after purchase.”

Compared in a digital camera test with dry-cell batteries, Sanyo claims the eneloop batteries lasted over four times longer and outperform dry cells in low-temperatures.

Sanyo estimates an approximate 1000-charge life cycle and claims eneloop batteries are environmentally friendly in their material selection and in that they are recyclable.

Eneloop batteries are, like traditional NiMH batteries, only minorly susceptible to the ‘memory effect’ that plagued NiCad batteries.

Sanyo Oceania Australia expects a local release around April 2006.

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