Stop-start technology – make sure your battery keeps up

05 March 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201913750

Automotive

WITHIN the next few years, almost all newly-manufactured cars (90%) will have built-in functionality that can contribute to a cleaner environment. Stop-start technology reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions by reducing the amount of time the engine spends idling, especially when sitting in gridlocked traffic.

That’s according to Rick Rovelli of Probe, a leading importer of batteries, who added that with most of the newer car in South Africa now including stop-start technology, it’s important for drivers of cars equipped with this functionality to use the correct type of battery in order to avoid battery failure.

“The purpose of stop-start technology is to automatically shut down and restart the internal combustion engine,” Rovelli said.

“When the car is stationary or out of gear, fuel delivery is halted and the spark to the engine is lost. The ignition begins again when the car starts moving or the clutch is pressed. This process happens automatically, but some car models enable the driver to choose whether the system is active or disabled by pushing their car’s stop-start button.”

Rovelli said the high demands of stop-start systems require a specific type of battery such as enhanced flooded battery (EFB). However, drivers and especially second-users of cars with stop-start systems can be tempted to opt for a regular flooded battery (lead-acid battery) because the EFB is costlier across all battery brands. Using a standard battery instead of an EFB can cause battery failure within two to four months of installation.

“As we can switch on our cars so effortlessly, we tend to forget the enormous amount of power required to ignite the engine. This is the single most demanding thing that your battery will ever do. So, if you’re repeatedly doing this over short bursts and in low-speed drives such as when you’re sitting in a traffic jam, you will need a heavier-duty performer than a standard lead-acid battery.”

EFB batteries are an evolution of the lead-acid battery to deal with the extra power and thermal requirements in a stop-start environment. The main benefits of EFB technology include an improved charge acceptance and greater cyclic durability when operating in a reduced state of charge which is typical of stop-start applications.

“In a stop-start system, the EFB battery will have to provide approximately 85,000 engine starts compared to the standard 30,000 starts from a lead-acid battery. This means that in this application, the lead-acid battery would overheat, which significantly shortens its service life.”

Rovelli adds that besides the stop-start system requirements, cars today are equipped with many power-consuming items. “Consider all the additional devices that you may have operating in your car - your GPS device, your smartphone interface and even a DVD screen. New technologies demand a robust, long-wearing and powerful battery to get the job done without fail,” he said.

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