New engine start module from Maxwell Technologies

Lucas Deal

March 21, 2012

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. has introduced a 12-volt ultra-capacitor module that it says ensures reliable engine starting for commercial trucks and other heavy vehicles.

Maxwell says it developed the Engine Start Module by incorporating its patented ultra-capacitor technology in consultation with heavy-duty truck manufacturers and fleet operators. The new product will be sold as original equipment or as a retrofit solution to avoid vehicle starting problems in cold weather or when batteries are drained by repetitive starting or climate control and other driver comfort functions, the company says.

Features of the product are said to include:

  • Reliable starting for diesel engines up to 15 liters at temperatures down to -40ºC
  • Maintenance-free operation and “life of the vehicle” reliability
  • Industry standard Group 31 battery form factor
  • Built-in quick charging system (15 minutes or less)
  • Extended battery life, full compatibility with existing battery systems
  • Green technology with no heavy metals or toxic substances requiring special recycling

“The trucking industry is ripe for a more reliable and cost-effective starting solution,” says Van Andrews, Maxwell’s senior vice president, sales and marketing. “This ultra-capacitor based engine start module in a compact, lightweight, industry-standard form factor provides an ‘onboard jump-start’ capability that will virtually eliminate starting failures in low temperature conditions or when hotel loads drain a truck’s batteries.”

Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, Maxwell says it ultra-capacitor products store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultra-capacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40ºC to 65ºC), operate reliably through one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock, vibration and overcharging, the company says.

Maxwell Technologies also has entered into a one-year agreement with Pana-Pacific to distribute the ESM in the United States, Canada and Mexico. As a result of the agreement, Maxwell says the ESM is now available through all OEM aftermarket truck dealerships, including Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack Trucks, Peterbilt, Volvo and Western Star Trucks.

“Pana-Pacific has a long history and great reputation as an integrator in the commercial vehicle market and we’re very pleased to be working with them to make our new Engine Start Module widely available to owner operators and fleets,” says Andrews. “Through the agreement, buyers are now able to walk into any heavy-duty truck dealership in the U.S., Canada or Mexico and get the Engine Start Module right off the shelf or order it.”

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