Say goodbye to conventional starting batteries

June 2, 2015

Say hello to absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries. They are quickly becoming the battery standard as OEs try to meet the power requirements of today’s vehicles. Is your shop ready?

Battery composition and construction is changing quickly as car makers take steps to meet the federal government’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 54.5 miles per gallon for the 2025 model year.

Automakers are relying on a variety of technologies to boost the fuel efficiency of standard combustion engines. Automatic start-stop systems have emerged as one of the preferred technologies for meeting aggressive fuel economy and carbon emission reduction targets.

Gale Kimbrough, engineering and technical manager for Interstate Batteries Inc., says dealers can expect to see start-stop vehicles in their shops soon because restarting the engine multiple times places tremendous strain on the vehicle’s battery. The car’s accessories challenge the battery even more.

The battery in a start-stop vehicle has to create energy to power lights, computer and ignition systems, and other accessories. “That power request may be 30-50 amps for several minutes at a time while the battery is required to hold on to adequate voltage to restart the vehicle the second you press the accelerator. A morning commute with 10 stops plus 10 restarts one way could add up to a tired battery within a short time,” says Kimbrough.

Kimbrough is one of several experts we consulted for our story on the latest battery technologies. The others are: Jim O’Hara of Clore Automotive Inc.; Dale Gospodarek of Johnson Controls Inc.; Marcel Ayasse of Robert Bosch LLC; Will Sampson of Midtronics Inc.; John Munsell of ACDelco; and Jennifer Eirich of Odyssey.

For their perspectives, see “Is your shop ready for absorbent glass mat batteries?” in May’s print or digital edition, or online.