The evolution of the modern automotive system is largely driven by specifics: parts, such as starters, batteries and alternators, are manufactured for particular makes of vehicles and engines. But what happens if an older-make vehicle requires a new part, such as the all-important alternator that can come at a ridiculously high price?
Enter the universal alternator, a cost-effective solution produced locally only by Probe, South Africa’s leading importer, wholesaler and distributor of rotating electrics and batteries. “As an essential part of a vehicle, the alternator’s job in the automotive system is two-fold: it supplies the power to run a vehicle’s electronics including ignition, and it charges the battery,” says Probe CEO Frank Rovelli. “The battery must primarily provide the necessary power to crank the starter motor which, in turn, starts the engine. This results in a significant draw of power from the battery, and the alternator’s job is to recharge the battery using electrical power in the first few minutes of running the engine.”
Having extended its manufacturing and remanufacturing services, Probe specializes in producing the Lucas universal alternator. “With over fifty years of experience in the automotive industry, our infrastructure, technical capabilities and know-how enable us to undertake large-scale local manufacture at our Meadowdale facility,” says Rovelli. “The Lucas type universal alternator is just the first of many products that Probe will proudly assemble and manufacture in South Africa.”
The Lucas universal alternator, an equivalent unit to the American brand Prestolite, is assembled using high quality parts. Each universal alternator goes through a stringent quality check, which includes testing on a world-renowned D&V Electronics test bench. This means that quality is guaranteed and the company is able to offer a comprehensive warranty on the product.
“By minimising cost through local assembly, Probe can pass on the cost benefit to the customer,” says Rovelli. “The Lucas alternator is ideally positioned in the market as a competitive option to some of the imported units. Rather than having to use a specific alternator that could be more expensive, the Lucas, along with the fitment of the appropriate size pulley, will reduce purchase cost.”
While Probe is also a leading distributor of a number of premium-brand alternators such as Delco Remy, Prestolite, Leece Neville, Bosch, CE Niehoff, Cole Hersee, their locally-produced Lucas differs from these brands in its product offering. The Lucas provides great replacement value for a range of vehicles, including the older make of heavy-duty vehicle.