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Skeleton introduces 24V ultracap Engine Start Module for trucks

European manufacturer Skeleton Technologies announced the availability of a new 24V Engine Start Module (SkelStart ESM), which uses high-performance ultracapacitor technology to ensure engine start at any time, in any conditions. The SkelStart ESM is designed in a form factor that fits with European vehicles and can easily be fitted in to the D02 box types commonly used by battery manufacturers.


Ultracapacitors are highly efficient and able to provide much higher currents of power than lead acid batteries. They can also charge and discharge millions of times, offering lifetimes up to 500 times longer than batteries. Crucially for drivers in colder climates, the technology can operate in temperatures as low as -65 °C. With the SkelStart ESM, ultracapacitors, not batteries, provide the power required to start the truck engine. The batteries are then only required to provide low power loads once the engine is up and running. This effectively eradicates the problem of an engine not starting due to cold, depletion or periods of inactivity.

Dead batteries are a notorious problem in the trucking industry, particularly in colder climates. In low temperatures long-haul drivers often leave the engine idling for long periods of time just to make sure that the battery is charged. Start failures also occur when trucks are not used for periods of time or when lifting systems consume too much energy from the battery.

Priit Tamme manages a fleet on behalf a major freight forwarding and logistics company that operates across the Baltic region. After experiencing repeated problems with dead batteries in cold weather his company, Mareen, chose to trial the SkelStart ESM on its vehicles.

Since installing the SkelStart ESM we have had no starting problems whatsoever. The unit is particularly useful when the engine cannot be kept idling because of local restrictions and when the batteries have been drained from using the lift gate. Previously we were changing the batteries every two years but we expect much longer battery life using the SkelStart ESM. We are now looking at installing the technology across our fleet.

—Priit Tamme


Brent Jatko

I couldn't find a price for this, but it doesn't look like this completely replaces the lead-acid battery, see diagram in link:


Most heavy trucks have 2 lead batteries. This ultra cap unit would only replace one of them, for much improved engine start duties.


A fairly small battery can supply all the energy needed to start a truck engine, but it can't dump it out fast enough to do the cranking (especially when it's cold).  The ultracap can be charged over a longer period of time (tens of seconds or minutes) to supply the pulse of power needed to get the engine cranked over fast and started.


It takes 10 minutes to charge and can deliver 110 kw! My question is how much energy can it hold, and for how long, or what is it's self discharge rate?

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