Well, the voting’s done, so the silly season is now over. Time to get back to the serious stuff.
I’ve read AK’s By Ourselves, For Ourselves series with interest, as well as Rivrdog’s Paratus blog, and I’m wondering if either of these fine gentlemen (or perhaps one of RNS’s excellent readers) could answer the following question.
In William C. Heine’s 1970s novel Death Wind (also published as The Last Canadian and The Last American) about a killer virus that wipes out almost everyone in the Americas…
…the lone survivor wanders around the wasted landscape for several years and eventually discovers in a auto repair shop car batteries that are “inactive” — the electrolyte/battery acid is stored separately, and has to be poured into the battery in order to charge it. This is convenient to the plot since it lets the character “create” a freshly charged battery whenever he wants to, so he’s able to drive around the USA instead of having to walk. When I read the novel, I chalked that up as a cute plot device.
But it stuck in my head. Because the electrolyte’s stored separately, there’s no chemical reaction, so the batteries can theoretically sit forever until they’re needed. A couple of “inactive” backup batteries sounds like just the thing to keep in my SHTF locker.
Now, I’m not a “car guy,” but I’ve swapped a few batteries in my time and, at least on the retail shelves, they all come with the electrolyte already inside. Does anybody know if batteries are still sold without electrolyte? Are such things only available to auto mechanics via special distribution channels?