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Johnson Controls develops service program for start-stop systems for independent workshops

Battery maker Johnson Controls has developed a battery service program for vehicles equipped with start-stop systems to provide independent workshops with total product support and training for this new market, which is set to expand rapidly within a relatively short timeframe.

At the heart of the VARTA Start-Stop Service program (VSSP) is a WiFi diagnostic tool smaller than an iPad, which allows technicians to manage all the steps necessary to test start-stop systems and replace the Absorbent glass mat (AGM) or Enhanced Flooded (EFB) batteries they rely on to achieve fuel and CO2 emission savings of between 5 and 12%.

Johnson Controls predicts that by 2015, 70% of all new vehicles manufactured will feature start-stop technology. According to Joacim Adlerborn, Training and Technical Services Manager at Johnson Controls, the majority of independent workshops still feel ill-equipped to service these vehicles.

On the one hand 70% of independent workshops consider the subject relevant for the near future, but 60% are still unprepared for repairing a start-stop car, and 80% would even defer their customers to their vehicle manufacturer dealer network.

—Joacim Adlerborn

Stemming directly from a market survey of 1,200 workshops in Europe carried out by Johnson Controls, the company has developed a compact electronic tool that is easy to operate and has access to all the latest data at all times. Replacing a Start-Stop battery is not like replacing a conventional car battery, as it is linked to the on-board electronics via a battery management system (BMS) or intelligent battery sensor (IBS).

The VSSP tool first ascertains the vehicle and battery type, and then provides the technician with precise information on the position of the battery (often hidden away in the trunk or under the driver’s seat) and the EOBD (European on-board diagnostics) interface with the aid of a 2D code and VIN number.

The technician is given a step-by-step guide to replacing the battery via on-screen images and graphics using the touch screen. The VSSP 2.0 can also be used to test the battery, evaluate or delete error codes and read individual vehicle data. With this information, the technician knows which VARTA replacement battery is suitable for the vehicle.

By regularly connecting the device to Johnson Controls’ secure area for partners via wireless internet, workshops can keep the device up to date, as well as access all relevant data on battery replacement online at any time.

Supporting the diagnostic tool is a full service program developed for Johnson Controls by eXponentia to assist workshops in staff training. Johnson Controls also offers technical support through e-learning via the internet.

To enable workshops to provide customers with a comprehensive quality endorsement, VSSP offers a two-year VARTA mobility guarantee. Additional marketing support, such as registered partner exterior signage, and a range of promotional material is also available to support the workshop.

Workshops who are interested in registering for the VARTA Start-Stop Service programe can obtain a licence package from their VARTA dealer, which they can use to register online. Licence packages will be available via the VARTA network to workshops from 1 March onwards.

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