Within the next few years, almost all newly-manufactured cars (90%) will have built-in functionality that can contribute to a cleaner environment.  Stop-start technology reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions by reducing the amount of time the engine spends idling, especially when sitting in gridlocked traffic.  And idling is a huge waste of petrol (and money).  In the United States alone, idling can waste as much as 3.9 billion gallons of petrol.  Gains from the stop-start technology can be anywhere from 3 to 10 percent, potentially as high as 12 percent; the longer you sit, the more you gain.

Most of the newer car models driving on South Africa’s roads today include stop-start technology, which it’s however important for drivers of cars equipped with this functionality to use the correct type of battery in order to avoid battery failure, says expert Rick Rovelli of Probe, SA’s leading importer of batteries.  

“The purpose of stop-start technology is to automatically shut down and restart the internal combustion engine.  When the car is stationary or out of gear, fuel delivery is halted and the spark to the engine is lost. The ignition begins again when the car starts moving or the clutch is pressed.  This process happens automatically, but some car models enable the driver to choose whether the system is active or disabled by pushing their car’s stop-start button,” Rovelli explains.

Rovelli says that the high demands of stop-start systems require a specific type of battery such as enhanced flooded battery (EFB).  However, drivers and especially second-users of cars with stop-start systems can be tempted to opt for a regular flooded battery (lead-acid battery) because the EFB is more costly, across all battery brands. Using a standard battery instead of an EFB can cause battery failure within 2 to 4 months of installation.

“As we can switch on our cars so effortlessly, we tend to forget the enormous amount of power required to ignite the engine.  This is the single most demanding thing that your battery will ever do.  So if you’re repeatedly doing this over short bursts and in low-speed drives such as when you’re sitting in a traffic jam, you will need a heavier-duty performer than a standard lead-acid battery.”

EFB batteries are an evolution of the lead-acid battery to deal with the extra power and thermal requirements in a stop-start environment.  The main benefits of EFB technology include an improved charge acceptance and greater cyclic durability when operating in a reduced state of charge which is typical of stop-start applications. 

Rovelli explains, “In a stop-start system, the EFB battery will have to provide approximately 85,000 engine starts compared to the standard 30,000 starts from a lead-acid battery.  This means that in this application, the lead-acid battery would overheat, which significantly shortens its service life.”

Rovelli adds that besides the stop-start system requirements, cars today are equipped with many power-consuming items.  He says, “Consider all the additional devices that you may have operating in your car – your GPS device, your smartphone interface and even a DVD screen.  New technologies demand a robust, long-wearing and powerful battery to get the job done without fail.” 

Stop-start with Probe for light duty vehicles:

The EFB 646 (60 amp hour)/ 652 (70 amp hour)/ 668 (80 amp hour)/ 658 (90 amp hour)

  • Excellent for conventional stop-start systems
  • High cycling performance
  • Improved charge acceptance
  • Long service life
  • Probe promise of true fit-and-forget

Stop-start with Probe for heavy duty vehicles:

The EFB 696 (180 amp hour)/ 695 (225 amp hour)

  • Suited for heavy vehicles which require deep-cycling characteristics
  • Excellent vibration resistance and cyclability
  • Technology includes improved cast plates fixed with hot melt resin and polyester scrim and glass fleece to the plates.
  • Custom acid circulation system to reduce acid stratification improve the performance and life of the battery
  • Longer service life due to extended warranty
  • Probe promise of true fit-and-forget, maintenance free batteries