Battery technology trends and maintenance practices

Trends with truck batteries.


A major market trend is the increasing acceptance of AGM batteries which use sealed technology and require different charging parameters. Trucking fleets are realizing that a well-designed AGM battery can provide a broad array of advantages over flooded technologies, including longer life, more run-time and less maintenance, Brad Bisaillon, director of strategic accounts for North America and Europe for Trojan Battery Company (www.trojanbattery.com) says. All this adds up to more time on the road and less time in the shop to replace inferior batteries. 

Another gaining traction is the understanding of the total cost of ownership when implementing AGM battery technology, he continues. While the upfront cost may be slightly higher, trucks using high-quality AGM batteries will spend less time in the shop to replace sub-par batteries. Bottom-line profits are the primary goal for any company, so investing in quality AGM batteries and properly maintaining them equates to more time on the road and less time in the shop for repairs.

ONBOARD TECHNOLOGIES STRAINING BATTERIES

As onboard technology changes and electrical advances in trucking applications are introduced, it is now more important than ever to select the correct battery technology to fit a specific trucking application, points out Bisaillon.

Flooded batteries are acceptable for applications where batteries are not exhausted by long-term use of advanced electrical operations or onboard vehicles with minimal technology, he says. AGM batteries are best for over-the-road trucking applications which typically put more demands on the vehicle's electrical systems. 

APPLICATION SPECIFIC

Regardless of the type of battery, selecting the correct, application specific battery will help translate to longer life.

A battery, regardless of technology, is designed to deliver a finite number of amp hours over its life, Bisaillon explains. The positive plates degrade over time and once positive grid corrosion has fully set in, the battery has reached its end of life. Moreover, the deeper a battery is discharged or cycled, the more amp hours are consumed during that cycle. 

In addition, whenever adding a device that needs connectivity at the batteries, never connect the positive and negative leads of the device to only one battery in the bank, he warns, as this will cause discharge imbalance. Always connect the positive battery lead to battery 1 and the negative to battery 4 - being furthest from battery 1 - as this will ensure equal discharge as a battery bank.

More information is available in Trojan Battery's whitepaper, Battery Technology Trends and Maintenance Practices in the Heavy Trucking Industry, which is available for free in Fleet Maintenance's online Media Center at www.vehicleservicepros.com/media-center/whitepaper.

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