Since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Japanese companies have been focusing their efforts on creating products that can be useful in an emergency. And since batteries can be vital when a power grid's been knocked out, Sanyo has been working to improve their shelf life.
On a full charge, their latest rechargeable nickel-metal hydride AA and AAA Eneloop batteries will retain up to 70% of their capacity after sitting unused for five years. And if you abandon them for just a year, they'll have only lost about 10% of their charge. Improvements that come courtesy of a change in the crystal lattice structure of the hydrogen storing alloy. Exciting stuff! Sanyo has also managed to increase the numer of times the new Eneloops can be run down and charged back up. About 1,800 times, a 20% increase over the previous generation. They also come fully charged from the factory, exclusively with solar power, so they can be used straight out of the package. Available come November. [Sanyo Eneloops via Fareastgizmos]