With cranking performance decided, it's time to look into the different types of batteries available. The standard flooded lead-acid batteries have been in production since the beginning of the automobile. This low-cost option will do a fine job of starting your vehicle, but since it's unsealed and contains caustic liquid that can slosh around, it may not be the best choice for racing. Nor should this type of battery be installed in the passenger compartment of any vehicle, due to off-gassing (the release of hydrogen gases), corrosion, and rust damage. The flooded battery is also the heaviest battery type and therefore would not be the best choice if you're attempting to cut weight.
Sealed lead-acid batteries have been used in Corvettes since the mid '80s. These use the same design as flooded batteries but feature a one-way valve on top to contain the acid during vehicle movement. Although the unit is sealed, it still allows hydrogen gas to escape. If your Corvette has a tube leading from the top of the battery to the outside of the cabin, its purpose is to allow for this off-gassing. These batteries are average for cranking performance and weigh less than the flooded type.
The '80s and '90s brought us "gel cell" (gelled electrolyte) batteries. What made these batteries so desirable was that the acid had been made into a semi-solid mass by incorporating silica-gel additives. With a high-energy storage capacity and a sealed design, these batteries became the mainstay of the racing world and eventually trickled into the automotive mainstream. It was evident that this type of battery offered better safety because there was no spillage when tipped. But as with all new products, time and usage revealed its shortcomings. Subjecting a gel-cell battery to high charging rates could cause off-gassing and result in internal cell damage, or even create potentially explosive conditions in the area surrounding the battery itself. Automotive manufacturers did not select this battery for production due to these inconsistencies in safety and performance.
If you like the idea of a gel battery, do not despair-there are options available. The absorbed glass mat (AGM) type is an excellent choice for your Corvette. These batteries offer zero maintenance, exceptional performance and safety, high energy storage and PCA, and an even safer no-spill design. All this quality does, however, translate into price. While there are AGM batteries available at relatively low price points, remember: you get what you pay for. Like their more-conventional cousins, these cheaper units feature a vent tube that releases hazardous hydrogen gasses into the air.
If you're looking for that perfect battery, you may want to consider Braille Batteries' advanced absorbed glass mat (AAGM) design. These batteries are completely sealed units that keep the oxygen and hydrogen contained inside, obviating the need for vent tubes. Since this type of battery is spill-proof, it's approved for use in passenger compartments and cargo spaces. In place of vent tubes, Braille designed a top cap that slowly releases hydrogen gas at well below the legally mandated 4-percent limit. With a very high cranking-energy-to-weight ratio, AAGM batteries can be built in smaller sizes and still accommodate the performance demands of your Corvette. While these batteries are a little more pricy, we think their advantages make them well worth the extra dough.
Now that you're armed with plenty of information, deciding which battery is best for you should be a little easier.