Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MXWL) is introducing a 12-volt ultracapacitor module that ensures reliable engine starting for commercial trucks and other heavy vehicles. The new product was first displayed in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY.
Maxwell developed the engine start module incorporating its patented ultracapacitor technology in consultation with heavy truck manufacturers and fleet operators. The new product will be sold as original equipment or as an easy-to-install retrofit solution to avoid vehicle starting problems in cold weather or when batteries are drained by repetitive starting or climate control and other driver comfort functions. Key features and benefits of the new product include:
- Reliable starting for diesel engines up to 15 liters at temperatures down to -40 degrees C;
- Maintenance-free operation and "life of the vehicle" reliability;
- Industry standard Group 31 battery form factor for easy integration with battery systems;
- Built-in quick charging system (15 minutes or less);
- Extended battery life, full compatibility with existing battery systems;
- Green technology with no heavy metals or toxic substances requiring special recycling
Trucking Industry sources estimate that emergency road service, downtime and delivery delays can add up to an average expense of $600 for each starting failure, and that heavy trucks experience an average one or more such events per year. Truck starting problems have become more common as over 30 states have enacted anti-idling laws that make it illegal to leave truck engines running for extended periods during deliveries or overnight to power "hotel loads" such as heating, air conditioning and entertainment systems in sleep-in truck cabs.
To avoid starting problems, truck operators often replace batteries as often as once a year at a cost of several hundred dollars per truck, adding up to an annual North American battery replacement market for Class 4 to 8 trucks estimated to approach $1 billion.
"Clearly the trucking industry is ripe for a more reliable and cost-effective starting solution," said Van Andrews, Maxwell's senior vice president, sales and marketing. "This ultracapacitor-based engine start module in a compact, lightweight, industry-standard form factor provides an 'onboard jump-start' capability that will virtually eliminate starting failures in low temperature conditions or when hotel loads drain a truck's batteries.
"Fleet operators and other truck owners will see an immediate return on their investment in this engine start module in terms of improved performance and reliability, reduced weight versus batteries, longer battery life and less frequent battery replacement, and elimination of road service and downtime expense," Andrews added. "By significantly reducing the cost of ownership over the life of a truck, this novel product provides a compelling value proposition that is opening up a large and previously untapped market for Maxwell's ultracapacitor technology."
Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, Maxwell ultracapacitor products store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 to +65C), operate reliably through one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock, vibration and overcharging. Maxwell offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from 5 to 3,000 farads and multi-cell modules ranging from 16 to 125 volts. More information on the engine start module may be accessed via the following link: www.maxwell.com/products/ultracapacitors/applications/cold_starting.aspx