One of the most overlooked components in the trucking industry, unless, of course, your truck doesn’t start, is the battery. Demands on batteries have grown through the years mainly because anti-idling regulations require trucks to be turned off more frequently. And if your truck consistently runs in cold weather, there is added concern.
Most customers are asking for “starting batteries that can provide up to 1,150 cold cranking amps (CCA) to get their trucks moving,” says David Kelly, product marketing manager for Paccar Parts. “Operators in predominantly warmer climates want batteries that offer more longevity than cranking power. But regardless of the climate in which they run, operators need batteries with high-quality components to handle the rigorous environment of a commercial vehicle.”
The TRP Parts line of batteries includes both standard lead-acid designs and absorbed glass mat (AGM) technology, Kelly says. “The TRP dual-purpose batteries allow for more frequent discharge and recharge with their heavier, thicker plates,” he says. “Fiberglass strands embedded into the plate surfaces lock active material to the plates, preventing shorts between the plates.”
AGM batteries have no free acid inside because it’s absorbed by the separator material between the lead plates, Kelly points out. “This efficiently packed battery protects the plates from the damaging effects of vibration far better than a traditional lead-acid battery while cycling many more times. TRP AGM batteries also feature a greater repetitive reserve capacity, which allows the battery to be completely drained and fully recharged more times than traditional batteries.”
Kelly notes that the demands of drivers continue to grow. “Because drivers have more electronic devices, they look for batteries that can work seamlessly with alternators to provide a more steady and reliable source of power,” Kelly adds.
That’s a point that Brad Bisaillon, sales manager-strategic accounts & transportation for Trojan Battery Co., agrees with. “Batteries have become application-specific,” says Bisaillon. “For example, Trojan manufactures the TransPower ST 1000 Group 31 AGM for starting applications, and the OverDrive AGM 31 for heavy-duty cycling applications such as battery-powered APUs and liftgate applications.” AGM batteries, Bisaillon says, are suited for over-theroad applications where electrical demands are highest.
“Trojan’s TransPower ST1000 is a high-performance, heavy-duty starting battery with a cranking power of 1,000 CCA,” he says. “It is engineered with a combination of highdensity paste and a thick wire grid design. The heavy-duty plate construction can deliver nearly double the battery life of a standard flooded starting battery [and] features a 48-month full replacement warranty.”
APUs and liftgates place still different demands on batteries. “When operating APUs or liftgates, a battery is discharged to 80% or more of available capacity,” Bisaillon says. “This causes significant changes to the chemical composition and physical makeup of the battery’s active materials.”
To meet this deep-discharge need, Trojan developed the OverDrive AGM 31 deep-cycle battery with a thicker plate construction, making the plate more resistant to stresses.
At Interstate Batteries, the growing number of accessories in cabs that require electrical power are among customer concerns. “We have found that the battery must be able to handle the drain of the increasing number of heavy-duty truck accessories that require deep cycling batteries like auxiliary power units, refrigeration units, liftgates and other cycling accessories,” says Gale Kimbrough, manager of technical services.
“We’ve addressed this need in the past with our flooded 31- ECL and 31-MHD. Both of these exceed the TMC standard for high cycling using the SAE J-2185 test regime.”
Interstate’s 31-AGM7 with Pure Matrix can handle both starting the engine and performing 400 extreme cycles (80% depth of discharge) or up to 900 cycles at 30% depth of discharge, Kimbrough points out. The battery also has twice the service life of a standard lead alloyed AGM battery, he says.
Exide Technologies unveiled a new battery designed to provide 1,000 CCA during the recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week show. The Extreme Power 1000 also provides 200 RC (reserve capacity) minutes. The battery is made of silver alloy cast positive grids; double-insulated, glass matlined separator envelopes; and Stabl-Lok Plus epoxy anchor bonding. The easyto- carry battery comes with a reinforced case and cover, as well as a 24-month free nationwide replacement warranty.
Made by Enersys Energy Systems, Odyssey Batteries’ PC2150 Group 31 AGM battery provides 1,150 CCA at 0 deg. F with a deep cycling capability of 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. Designed for a typical service life of six to eight years, the battery is just one of several AGM options available from Odyssey.