Hella has the spark

Although the start/stop systems fitted to an increasing number of vehicles today are in themselves nothing new, battery management is crucial to increasing their effectiveness.

Despite industry figures which forecast that 90% of the vehicles produced this year will feature a start/stop system, they have not been universally embraced by a sceptical car-driving public, many of whom switch them off using the manual override button provided by the vehicle manufacturers (VM).

However, as drivers get more accustomed to the technology and because it is likely to become more difficult to override and the vehicle already resets the system to the ‘active’ default position at the start of every new journey, workshops should be prepared to undertake more start/stop related service and repair, as these vehicles finally have to cope with the inherent demands of the design.

Start/stop technology first made an appearance back in the 1980s, but it has only been in the past decade that its implementation has come to the fore, as VMs have attempted to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets. It is, however, effective battery management that will be key to creating more efficient systems in the future, which is where Hella’s Intelligent Battery Sensor (IBS) comes in.

An IBS unit gives precise and on-demand current, voltage and temperature measurements from the battery. This information allows for accurate “state of charge” and “state of health” calculations to be performed, ensuring that the vehicle’s electrical system operates at the highest level of efficiency.

At the heart of a start/stop system is an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. Developed to cope with the increased demands of these systems, an AGM battery can be called upon to make 350,000 engine starts during its service life, as opposed to just 30,000 for a traditional SLI (starter/lighting/ignition) battery. For less demanding, ‘entry-level’ start/stop applications, enhanced flooded batteries (EFB) have been developed as a more cost-effective solution.

However, without an IBS unit, even these batteries would fail. It is only through this device and via the vehicle’s battery management system, that they can be regulated to provide the necessary power to restart the engine, while minimising their demand on the alternator, which is how these start/stop systems both reduce fuel consumption and harmful exhaust emissions.

As would be expected, the Hella range includes AGM and EFB batteries alongside the traditional Classic, Premium and Supreme SLI products, so catering for all possible applications. The AGM range features the latest Grid Protection Technology for increased efficiency and long service life, has an excellent cycling capacity and provides up to 50% more starting power.


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