Higher performance batteries are popular among truck fleets running large numbers of vehicle electronics and cab accessories. Now, with idling restrictions and hybrid vehicle usage becoming more widespread, batteries are having to work harder to handle the shift in power from the truck engine to the electrical system.
Optima Batteries believes it has the right product for the job. Its line of Group 31 batteries for truck fleets features deep-cycling capabilities. According to the manufacturer, the Yellow Top's large reserve capacity allows drivers to run equipment with their engines off without fear of depleting the battery's reserve to the point where it cannot be replenished or it will become damaged.
Optima deep-cycle batteries can be recharged more often over their lifetime compared with a traditional battery. The company recommends the Group 31 Yellow Top for all over-the-road fleets. Later this year, the company will also be releasing a new Group 27F battery with even larger reserve capacity for truck fleets.
EnerSys also offers a deep-cycle Group 31 battery called Odyssey that uses a pure lead design rather than lead calcium. “This offers significant advantages including longer shelf life, quicker recharge and greater cranking power in a smaller package,” says Kalyan Jana, development support manager-specialty markets at EnerSys.
The pure lead-acid Odyssey battery, Jana explains, can “continuously cycle while producing a very high rate of cranking/engine pulses. It can also be 80 to 90% charged in less than one hour with a good charger.”
Recently, EnerSys has been working with “green” companies to provide no-idle solutions for the trucking industry. For example, Glacier Bay of Union City, CA, is offering fleets an all-electric, no-idle truck HVAC system that operates on four Odyssey AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries. According to Jana, the emphasis at EnerSys is on lifetime cost. “The purchase price of an Odyssey battery may be higher than a conventional one, but since it lasts two to three times longer, total cost over the life of the battery is lower.”
Mil Ovan, senior vp and co-founder of Firefly Energy, says his company's Oasis Group 31 truck battery also “might be more expensive in terms of initial purchase price compared to traditional batteries, but the actual cost of ownership over its service life can result in significant savings in terms of fewer batteries used, reduced maintenance, downtime and service disruption.”
The Oasis battery uses microcell foam technology to provide high runtime and greater number of deep discharge cycles. It has broad applicability for on-highway and delivery trucks, including powering liftgates, reefer units and accessories in sleeper cabs. This summer the manufacturer is releasing a new Oasis deep-cycle VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) battery that features advanced materials and design to provide even greater energy storage performance.
Interstate Batteries offers a variety of Group 31 battery products for the Class 4-8 truck fleet marketplace, including liquid electrolyte and VRLA/sealed lead-acid AGM batteries. Last year the company introduced its highest cranking battery to date — the 31-XHD — which provides 1,000 CCA (cold cranking amps). It is fully sealed and has a flat top/contoured design for retrofit into virtually any existing Group 31 hold-down application.
Doyle Choate, director-U.S. heavy-duty aftermarket sales for Exide Technologies, says one challenge for today's truck fleet owner is balancing the increased workload placed on batteries with expectations regarding lifespan. Fleets “are accustomed to thinking about battery life in terms of months, but battery life also is measured in terms of cycles. The same number of cycles can be expended in a shorter time period,'' he says.
The primary factors driving development of heavy-duty truck batteries are the increased energy needs during both key-on and key-off periods, plus the need to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, notes Choate. To help address these requirements, Exide introduced a series of Group 31 batteries with AGM technology marketed under the name RoadForce AGM-200.
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