Sure could have been. I was just out of school, so didn't have much business knowledge (not that I have much more now ), but the reading material they gave me to study indicated the composition of the raw material was very important to the capacity/lifetime of the batteries. The impression I got from others there was that good quality raw material was too expensive and they could get by with the less than optimum stuff.I am guessing that the price for the poor quality incoming materials was less than for the better qualitiy materials from other sources. Could the choice of suppliers have been made by the purchasing department? I have seen that happen before.