A review presents applications of different forms of elemental carbon in lead-acid batteries. Carbon materials are widely used as an additive to the negative active mass, as they improve the cycle life and charge acceptance of batteries, especially in high-rate partial state of charge (HRPSoC) conditions, which are relevant to hybrid and electric vehicles.
Carbon nanostructures and composite materials can also play such a role. The positive active mass additions are generally less beneficial than the negative ones. Carbon can also be applied as a material for reticulated current collectors for both negative and positive plates. This modern technology allows to increase the battery specific energy and active mass utilization. Batteries with such collectors can show improved cycle life, owing to a better active mass mechanical support. Other recent use of carbon in secondary batteries is as supercapacitor electrodes. They can replace the negative plate or be connected in parallel with such a lead plate. These solutions increase the specific power and HRPSoC performance. Presented new carbon-based technologies in a construction of lead-acid batteries can significantly improve their performance and allow a further successful competition with other battery systems.