Out to Beat the Bunny

JAPAN'S PANASONIC IS READYING A MARKETING ASSAULT ON THE U.S. BATTERY MARKET

A strange bird took flight on April 29 from Fujikawa runway in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The world's first manned, disposable-battery-powered aircraft--running on 160 AAs--flew for 90 seconds in a test run to display the capability of Panasonic's new Oxyride Extreme Power batteries, released last year. Panasonic, best known for its consumer electronics, is planning to blast its way into the U.S. battery market with a new technology and a ton of aggressive brand campaigning. The company, a division of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., craves no less than the top spot in the $4.1 billion U.S. disposable-battery industry. "When we decide...

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