The automotive industry is becoming increasingly reliant on batteries to maintain a vehicle’s components, such as start/stop technology, lights, stereo, and GPS. This includes all types of new vehicles, including electric vehicles, which have seen registrations rise by 127% since 2019.
Specifications for new features and add-ons within automotive manufacturing, such as improved cruise control, as well as higher requirements for economical vehicles, have increased requirements for battery power. This has concluded with a higher reliability on automotive electrification, resulting in new opportunities for battery defects.
Modern vehicle batteries must now be equipped with powerful cranking abilities (CCA) to start an engine in colder temperatures, whilst supporting smaller loads for longer periods (reserve capacity). Batteries should also have quick charge acceptance, to efficiently maintain the power crucial for vehicle operation.
Power management systems, tasked with increasing fuel efficiency whilst reducing emissions, are now responsible for charging batteries when driving, replacing the alternator, and using the engine to power electrical components after vehicle start.
Due to increased electrical requirements, batteries lose charge quicker than expected, causing a depleted state of charge before the vehicles next start, even if cranking health is maintained. If charge is not accepted, batteries may fail to return to correct charge specifications during use. This results in the loss of start/stop capabilities, reduced fuel efficiency, and faster battery degradation, finally producing increased non-starts.
Our Managing Director, Ken Clark, explains how “in recent years, there has been a heightened demand for batteries to support start/stop capabilities and consumer loads, increasing the strain on a battery’s overall health. We have also seen changes in battery technology, from flooded batteries to the introduction of EFB batteries (enhanced flooded batteries). Adding this to the current pandemic, we have seen increased vehicle down-time through industry shutdowns, creating an escalating problem with faulty batteries, which have been allowed to discharge through lack of use. We now accommodate new vehicle electrification demands, through providing the tools for regular battery tests and charges, as part of a proactive battery management programme”.
To prepare for increased automotive electrification, we recommend you ensure your battery testers and chargers are suitable for identifying battery performance requirements. This may be through obtaining the best quality products, or servicing and calibrating current equipment. This will help to determine battery health, to prevent future defect opportunities, ensuring your vehicles and workshops continue to operate efficiently.
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