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Rayovac to cut battery charge time

Fifteen minutes. That's how long the company says it will take to recharge its forthcoming nickel metal hydride batteries using its new technology.

Rayovac is making a new charge for consumer-electronics devices.

The Madison, Wis.-based company announced Tuesday a new battery technology, called I-C3, that cuts the time it takes to recharge a nickel metal hydride battery to 15 minutes.

Rayovac is targeting the technology, which is patent pending, at consumer-electronics products, such as MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones. The company is working to bring batteries based on the technology to market in late 2003.

The company is looking to capture a significant share of the estimated $5 billion rechargeable battery market.

Batteries using the technology will last up to four times longer than alkaline batteries--the most commonly used batteries in consumer-electronics products. They will be able to be charged up to 1,000 times.

Rayovac is also working on alkaline and zinc air batteries. In the spring, the company plans to launch new alkaline batteries that will last up to 28 percent longer than currently available batteries.

The company is also working to expand the use of zinc air technology beyond hearing aids to traditional-size batteries.