Leading the charge: Home Depot showcases lithium ion

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The Home Depot hosted a "Lithium Ion Product Showcase" in New York City in late February, an event designed to boost interest in the latest products from Ridgid, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Makita, DeWalt, Black & Decker and Energizer.

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The Home Depot's Bill Palmer, senior merchant for power tools, displays the retailer's top sellers -- a combination drill and impact driver. Palmer expects 60% of cordless drills sold in 2012 will be driven by lithium ion. The retailer has more than 60 different products with lithium ion technology.

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Using "Brushless Motor Technology,” Milwaukee's FUEL Hammer drill/driver kit promises longer motor life, more power and more run time. Brushless will be a major initiative for The Home Depot later this year, according to Palmer. “We have to keep thinking about how do you deliver that next new product for the customer,” he said.

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The Black & Decker team showcased products, including a 36-volt Lithium High Performance String Trimmer and 36-volt 24-in. Lithium Hedge Trimmer. Outdoor power tools, using lithium ion technology now account for about 15% of the market.