Manbat, the UK’s largest automotive battery distributor, was at the recent AutoCare Trade Show and Conference to catch up with garages fitting the batteries it supplies.
As well as taking visiting technicians through the products in the VARTA®, Lucas and Numax ranges, the show also provided opportunity to discuss battery technology changes that will affect workshops in coming years.
Start-Stop, otherwise known as micro hybrid, engines have become the preferred route for most of the vehicle manufacturers to follow in order for them to reduce the fuel consumption of their vehicles and achieve the European Union requirement for fleet average vehicle emissions.
The traditional lead-acid ‘starter’ battery is not suitable for this type of engine. Instead it requires a battery that can deliver the starting power of a traditional automotive battery with the cyclic (charge, discharge, charge etc.) capacity of a specialist mobility battery. The result is the absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery, which was first developed by VARTA®.
An AGM battery cannot just be replaced as they are directly linked to the vehicle’s on-board electronics via a battery management system (BMS). Instead, it has to be integrated into the system and paired with the BMS; this requires specialist equipment. Without it the vehicle will not function correctly and is at risk of running in ‘limp’ mode – or not starting at all.
To prevent these error messages and other installation related problems, quality Start-Stop batteries should be the first thought when being replaced, as these will have the necessary 2D codes to ensure the battery is a ‘match’ for the vehicle and be ‘accepted’ by the BMS/ECU.
Training is particularly important because the number of potential faults in a Start-Stop system is far greater than for a traditional electrical system. Because the engine is switched off as frequently as possible and only restarts when the vehicle needs to move off or when the state of charge of the battery drops to a predetermined level, the BMS is extremely complicated. Therefore the correct testing procedure and fault diagnosis is vital, and this is why Manbat has joined forces with eXponentia via its association with VARTA.