The EU has a target to cut CO2 emissions in all new vehicles produced within it to 40% by 2020, but the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles at current levels is looking too slow to meet this target. Possible reasons for this include consumer perceptions that electric vehicles lack infrastructure, hybrid vehicles are too niche and both are expensive options at present.

As a result of this car manufacturers have responded by producing vehicles with a stop/start system in a bid to bridge the gap.

What is a stop/start system?

A stop-start system automatically switches off the engine when a vehicle is stationary, such as in traffic and at red lights etc. The engine shuts off after about 1.5 seconds and the system automatically switches the engine back on when the driver is ready to move off, by pressing the accelerator or clutch, depending on the design.

A vehicle that utilises this system typically offers 5 – 10% reductions in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. They are also significantly cheaper to manufacture compared to hybrids and are now seen by manufacturers as a viable strategy for meeting carbon emission reduction goals.

Batteries that support stop/start technology

An AGM is a type of car battery that, due to its construction, requires no ventilation and can be mounted at any orientation within the vehicle. Both of these features are seen as advantages in the construction of modern vehicles, adding to the CO2 benefits of stop/start systems.

This type of battery offers several advantages over a more traditional (flooded lead-acid) battery type including:

  • The ability to deliver significantly more power a lot more quickly when compared to lead-acid batteries, which is essential for stop /start systems.
  • The capability to operate more effectively in lower temperatures, which means improved starting performance in winter.
  • Lower maintenance requirement when compared to lead-acid batteries.
  • There is no risk of battery leaks or spills.

AGM batteries are here now

The demand for AGM batteries is increasing as the volume of vehicles with stop / start technology increases.

If global CO2 targets are to be met, it is expected that the adoption of hybrid vehicles will increase by 2020, and with it a corresponding decline in internal combustion engine vehicles.

This means that consumer awareness of battery technology will need to increase as what was once a ‘take out and replace the battery’ activity in internal combustion engine vehicles with lead-acid batteries becomes a lot more specialised.

In many applications, when an AGM battery is replaced, the vehicle’s engine management system will require recoding, using specialised equipment, which is why these batteries are recommended with professional fitting only.

That said, it is a small price to pay for the advantages to be had for consumers with cheaper running costs for vehicles in the short term, and less of an environmental impact of our driving in the long term. All with no disruption to our regular driving habits of today.

Does your car need a replacement AGM battery? Get a quote for a fitted battery now…

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