NASHVILLE. To protect truck batteries from going dead, Idle Smart is introducing a new automatic engine start/stop feature to its anti-idling system dubbed “Battery Protect” that not only continuously monitors battery voltage levels but then starts and runs truck’s engine for a pre-set amount of time to recharge them.

Jeff Lynch, Idle Smart’s president, said the “sweet point” for low battery charge is between 11.8 to 12.2 volts. If the new battery protection feature – now standard on Idle Smart’s anti-idling product – detects battery voltage at that level, it starts the engine and runs it for at least a minimum of 20 minutes to repower the battery.

During a press conference here at the 2014 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting, Lynch added that the anti-idling system will not kick in unless the engine hood is closed, the transmission is in neutral, and the parking brake is deployed – safety features detected via sensors incorporated within Idle Smart’s device.

Idle Smart contended that battery drain is an becoming a bigger issue for fleets at parking facilities where drivers require hotel loads for comfort and convenience items, especially during 34-hour rest periods required by changes to hours of service (HOS) regulations made back in July 2013. Protecting against battery drain also helps avoid the high cost of a service call and possible downtime, Lunch said.

He noted the list price for the company’s anti-idling product, which weighs about 5 lbs. altogether, is $2,500 and takes about 3 to 3 ½ hour to install. It can also be retrofitted back to 2007 truck models and even further back to 1999 models though that requires extra installation to ensure the proper data pin feeds are in place.

“We see a 6 to 7 month payback with this system because batteries are a constant issue in trucking,” he pointed out. “It speaks to better fleet efficiency on two points: fuel savings and improved fleet uptime.”