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AFL Automotive and Maxwell Technologies Exhibit Cold Start Engine System

AFL Automotive, an Alcoa business, and Maxwell Technologies are exhibiting a cold start system for the commercial truck market at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The cold start system combines Maxwell’s ultracapacitors with AFL’s power management system.

The two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the solution last year. (Earlier post.)

The cold start system can lower cost of ownership for fleet owners through fuel savings, lower weight and improved packaging. The cold start system can be used as part of a no-idle system to start a diesel engine in cold climates and to ensure reliable starting after the truck batteries are drained overnight by hotel loads. The cold start system, which recharges quickly from the main power system, can also be used with delivery vehicles that have repetitive starts,

—Allen Zwierzchowski, Senior Vice President Global Technology AFL Automotive

More than 20 states have enacted or are proposing regulations that prohibit running diesel truck engines overnight to power the “hotel loads”—heating, cooling, entertainment and other driver comfort feature.

To meet the no-idle laws, many commercial vehicles use auxiliary power units or a series of lead acid batteries to provide heating, cooling and driver comfort. After powering these overnight hotel loads many of the battery systems have insufficient power to start the vehicle in the morning, especially at cold ambient temperatures.

The AFL-Maxwell cold start system can ensure engine starts for commercial vehicles, thus eliminating the lost down time of jump starts.

The cold start system can also reduce or eliminate secondary energy storage systems that are used to start diesel engines from 6 liters to 16 liters in displacement. This weight savings can be used to lower fuel consumption or increase payload, resulting in greater operational efficiency to truck owners.

Also, many delivery or transit vehicles have repetitive starts that can drain the primary battery systems and result in stranded drivers and payload. The AFL-Maxwell cold start system is especially designed for fleet owners who have time sensitive cargo that cannot afford lost downtime with a drained battery.


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