Varta Introduces Aftermarket AGM Batteries
Varta is to introduce AGM technology to the aftermarket, with its premium range of Ultra Dynamic batteries. Varta is the European market leader in OE Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery technology, claiming a share in this sector of over 90 per cent.
AGM uses special micro-glass fibres in between the battery plates to fix the electrolyte. This increases the bonding of the active plate material between the plates and the electrolyte, which increases both the life span and the electrical performance of the battery, as well as making it spill proof.
The development of AGM batteries has been driven by the growth in electrical consumers in modern cars. In 1990 the average power consumption was 950 Watts, but today this figure is 3,500 Watts. At the top end of the scale, where up to 5,000 Watts is increasingly common, luxury models like the Maybach or Rolls Royce Phantom have two Varta AGM batteries to cope with demand on the electrics. Others, such as the Bentley-Continental GT and Mercedes-Benz SL use a Varta calcium-silver battery for starting and an AGM for all ancillary requirements.
However, it is not only the luxury end of the market that is using AGM technology, as these batteries are being fitted into volume production cars like the Audi A3, VW Golf and Passat models as original equipment. London black cabs, ambulances, police vehicles and delivery vans are also benefiting from AGM.
Varta accepts that it will be a while before the aftermarket benefits from direct replacement business, but the company anticipates “significant demand” from owners of vehicles already OE fitted with sophisticated electronics, who wish to upgrade their batteries to support retro-fitted extras such as satellite navigation and headrest-mounted DVD systems. Varta is launching two types of AGM Ultra Dynamic batteries, with 70 Ah and 95 Ah ratings, providing 92 per cent market coverage.