LAS VEGAS -Rayovac introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month what it calls the first one-hour battery charger for today's high-capacity nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries.
Also introduced were improved, longer-lasting NiMH batteries that can work in digital cameras up to four times longer than Duracell alkaline, said Rayovac, or up to two times longer than Duracell Ultra or Energizer E2.
The high-performing Rayovac NiMH batteries for use in high-drain consumer electronics devices include AA and AAA types that increase power by about 25 percent, to 1,600mAh and 700mAh, respectively. The company said these can be charged up 1,000 times and will retail for about $10 in packages of four AA or AAA batteries.
Rechargeable batteries are the fastest growing total batteries segment at retail, increasing at nearly three times the rate of alkaline, said Rayovac, which noted that NiMH types accounted for more than 50 percent of rechargeable sales.
The company's one-hour charger is mainly competing against units that take up to seven or eight hours to recharge batteries, as well as fast-charge types that offer two- to four-hour recharge.
Rayovac said that some "one-hour" chargers cannot charge high-capacity NiMH batteries in one hour. The company claims that its charger is the only product on the market that charges four AA or AAA high-capacity NiMH batteries in just one hour.
The Rayovac unit is designed to detect the amount of charge in each battery and charge each individually to maximum capacity without overcharging. It will charge a 9V NiMH battery in two to three hours, and it can also charge nickel-cadmium types.
The charger features a sleek, high-tech look and is not much larger than many cellular phones.
An accessories kit features a carrying case and DC adapter that plugs into a car lighter.
Rayovac said it will support the introduction of the battery charger, ex-pected to retail for $29.99, with a national consumer magazine ad campaign, point-of-sale promotions and off-price coupons. Availability for the charger, accessories kit and improved NiMH batteries is set for this summer.