Supercapacitor module for delivery trucks finishes trials

Supercapacitor module for delivery trucks finishes trials

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The uStart is a simple replacement for a standard lead acid battery but reduces the number of batteries a truck would require through its 15 year life from 30 to 5. For a large fleet this would replace thousands of lead acid batteries saving millions of dollars and would eliminate thousands of tons of lead from the environment.

The module works by monitoring the vehicle’s electrical bus, providing and absorbing power when required. Using just batteries can result in a wide range of results depending on load, age, temperature, and current state of charge. As a start is initiated, terminal voltage drops and the battery will discharge. The lower the voltage drops, the more current has to be supplied, further stressing the battery and starter.

In typical delivery operations the battery cannot recover from the previous cycle in the time between stops, resulting in the batteries operating at a low state of charge (SOC) all of the time, and exponentially accelerating the wear of the batteries and increasing the functional resistance (ESR) of the batteries, lowering the voltage further under load.

The current from the ultracapacitor provides rapid, full recharge of the system from the alternator up to 12.5V, giving enough energy for the next stop/start event within 15-30 seconds.

Next: trial results

In the one year field trial, the modules were installed in multiple different types of delivery trucks. These had up to 250 stops per day where the engine is turned off, but all of the electrical loads are still present. With the uStart installed, an immediate improvement in start time was noticeable; typical start times are reduced by up to one second compared to a healthy pair of batteries.

A key element of the two terminal module design is that it is a drop-in replacement for a battery and no special wiring or installation variation is required.

“One of the features I find amazing about our product is that uSTART can literally start your truck even when every battery onboard is dead,” said Mark McGough, CEO and President of New York-based Ioxus. “Fleet owners and operators will be able to benefit from the reliable performance of the uSTART in providing reliable starting for on-time deliveries and improved uptime in cold temperatures down to -40 to +85 degrees Celsius.”

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