Note: I'm not affilaited with with any of these products. I'm simply
providing this information I've gathered in my research in the hopes it
may be of use to others looking for similar information.
The Black Panther battery is actually sold by a company called
Crischell Automotive Products located on Colorado. The line is
sometimes called the Predator series. Crischell obtains the raw
batteries from Hawker Energy Products. They take a few of the Hawker
Genesis line of batteries, fit them with brass lugs and resell them
under their own name. These batteries are based on the "starved
electrolyte" concept, where the battery is produced using an inert
mesh to hold a bare minimum of electrolyte (i.e. acid) in contact with
the lead plates. The basic geometry of these batteries is rectanglular
plates stacked to form a cube-like form factor. This design evolved out
of work done at Gates Energy Products in the 1960's and another branch
of this tree can be found in the Optima line of spiral wound,
starved-electrolyte batteries. The flat plate design seems to be well
suited to the high current demands of the battery-powered drag racing
crowd, while the Optima has found a home in the electric vehicle ranks
and the auto-audiophile ranks.
Anyway, there is a bit of rivalry between the various battery camps and
it is somewhat amusing to read the various marketing blurbs and such.
I've noted several obvious differences, one being size. The Hawker
design is much smaller, volume wise for a given capacity. It seems all
the Hawker batteries are rated for all applications, unlike the Optima
that has starting (red top), deep-cycle (yellow top), and marine (blue
top) versions. Outside of the red-top, the prices seem to be roughly
equivalent and there are more size/capacity in the Hawker line,
somewhat less in the Black Panther line and least in the Optima line.
Here's a good description of various battery designs:
Thanks to Brian Bonner, The
Irish Rover, for obtaining the battery specifications.
The following is a (short) list of other information on batteries of