So I was talking to some of the Bosch guys yesterday in Denham and we had a bit of a chuckle about this one.
Yes, they admit it; Bosch is a bit late to the 4.0Ah lithium-ion battery pack party.
But then the cool kids typically are.
And when they do arrive, it’s usually time for everyone to sit up a pay attention.
It’s official and we’ve got the inside scoop on it, thanks to the ever-attentive Power Tool Spy.
Bosch is releasing a 4.0Ah lithium-ion battery pack. Full details will come out in January 2013 when the packs are officially launched, and you’ll be able to buy them for your cordless professional power tools from Toolstop in February 2013.
What’s the big deal about Bosch’s 4Ah li-ion battery packs? After all, we’re now used to having 4Ah packs in our power tools thanks to Metabo, Hitachi and DeWalt.
Each of those manufacturers makes boasts and claims about what their 4.0Ah packs can do for your power tool’s run-time.
Remember, the higher than Ah number, the more capacity, not power, the battery offers you. Hence, like all the other battery packs Bosch is claiming extended run-time per charge.
But what is Bosch’s claimed number on this compared to, say, Metabo or DeWalt?
Last December we brought you the Power Tool Spy exclusive that Metabo was launching a 4.0Ah li-ion battery pack, the first of its kind on the market.
Metabo claimed that these batteries, due to their higher capacity, would allow you 33% more runtime.
Then earlier this year we brought you the exclusive news that DeWalt was arriving in a blaze of black and gold at the 4.0Ah li-ion battery pack party.
And like Metabo, DeWalt’s numbers stood at 33% more runtime.
Here’s where things get interesting.
In the documents we’ve seen for the forthcoming release of Bosch’s CoolPack, the company is claiming an incredible “up to 65%” more runtime.
Like us, you’ll be wondering how its possible to make such a claim. And I didn’t fail to notice the wry smile on the face of one Bosch employee I spoke to yesterday when he said, “well, we may be late to the party, but we’ve arrived with a fantastic product that handles heat better than anyone else.”
And that seems to be the key to the CoolPack.
Which should be self-evident from its name…
Here’s the deal with battery powered tools;
They generate heat. All the big players in the power tool market know this and it’s an on-going concern and issue for them.
You, the guy/gal on the jobsite, want more power from your cordless power tools. To provide you with that power you need beefier motors. To fuel those motors you need higher capacity batteries, batteries that can get the power to the motor faster and more efficiently, allowing the motor to run for longer.
And that generates heat.
And heat is the enemy of your power tool. It literally kills them. Hence the smart power tool manufacturers building checks and balances into their technologies to monitor and control heat within the battery and motor of your tool. Hence brushless motors (less heat, more efficiency, longer life, click to read our article explaining how this works).
And now Bosch’s CoolPack.
CoolPack isn’t just one of those clumsy names marketing teams come up with (remember Metabo’s “Impuls”?). It’s directly related to a key element of technology Bosch has built into these 4.0Ah packs; active temperature management.
- too much heat generated by your battery and the lithium-ion cells die
- as these cells die, the less efficient your battery becomes
- the less efficient your battery becomes, the more it needs to be dropped onto the charger
And that costs you time and money.
So let’s step back and figure out where this “up to 65%” more runtime (over 3.0Ah batteries) comes from.
If the CoolPack system is better managing the heat generated within the battery, the cells will be healthier. And when the cells are healthier they hold and distribute their charge more efficiently.
Bosch also claim that the cells used in these new battery packs are “high quality”. Obviously we’ll need some qualification from them as to what that actually means.
You’ll also notice from the diagram above that these packs will survive a 3m drop, they’re (typically for Bosch!) “smallest…in class”, and surprise surprise, “lightest…in class” also.
And as you’d expect, they’re 100% backwards compatible with the Blue Bosch cordless tools you already own.
How does this change things in the professional power tool market?
Well, for one, it probably puts a bit more pressure on Makita to come to the party.
But ultimately it means that Bosch professional power tool users who’ve made the switch to cordless will be able to run longer, while resting in the knowledge that their battery pack is going to be protected by the technology within, saving them time and money.
And it might just be the tipping point for those of you who’re still clinging to those power cords…
What we want to know from you is now that the “cool kid” has finally arrived, are you impressed with what they’ve brought to the party? Let us know in the comments.
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