Demand For AGM Batteries to Increase, Says Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls Batteries has urged the UK aftermarket to gear up to cope with stronger demand for AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries to support the stop-start technology now available on an increasing range of new cars. Stop-start is the European automotive industry’s primary response to EU guidelines for the reduction of average CO2 emissions to 120 g/km by 2012. It conserves energy by shutting off the engine whenever the car stops, such as at a traffic light, thus reducing fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent and also reducing CO2 emissions.
New European models launched with automatic stop-start include the Audi A4, Fiat 500, Panda and Croma, Mercedes-Benz C, E and S Class, Volvo C30, S40 and V50 and the new Mk 6 VW Golf. Re-starting the engine requires sufficient power, but in urban driving conventional batteries often do not charge sufficiently. To resolve this, all cars using stop=start technology rely exclusively on an AGM battery to provide enough starting power to support the new system.
AGM batteries provide far greater cyclic durability and recharge acceptance than conventional lead acid and calcium-silver batteries. The technology was originally developed to cope with the dramatic increase in electrical consumers in modern cars, leading to the launch of the Varta Ultra dynamic AGM car battery for the aftermarket.
Virtually all AGM batteries fitted as OE on models so far launched with stop-start technology have been supplied by Johnson Controls – early models with stop-start include BMW, Mercedes-Benz A, B and C-Class, Smart, Mini and VW Passat. “With many of these cars now in their third or fourth year of ownership, there will inevitably be pressure on battery suppliers to stock AGM batteries to meet replacement demand,” says Tony Miller, Product Manager for Johnson Controls Batteries. He goes on:
“The micro-hybrid (stop-start) market is growing apace and programmes that we have with vehicle manufacturers soon to come to fruition will see many more cars with this technology entering service, this year alone. An estimated 2.5 million micro-hybrid vehicles will be manufactured by 2010, rising to 10 million by 2015. So specialists who can meet local demand for AGM batteries will be in the best position to take advantage of the strong profit opportunities this technology will bring.”