Municipal governments often are responsible for responding to snow emergencies with their own fleets. While other options exist, such as renting equipment, hiring private contractors or deferring to county or state governments, many jurisdictions use vehicles and equipment that are municipal property. Keeping roads clear for emergency services, such as police, firefighters and ambulances, as well as school buses, public transit, commercial vehicles and other kinds of traffic, can help keep residents safe and business activity in operation during the harsh winter months.
One important component of the snow removal fleet is the vehicles’ batteries, which is critical to overall operation. A few notable tips to help keep your batteries in good condition for optimal productivity and performance are listed below. As always, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling and direct any questions to your battery professional.
- Check that all components are clean and that the batteries are free of acid accumulation as well as corrosion.
- Inspect cables, connections and the battery case; all cable connections should be secure. Replace damaged cables and clamps, but if terminals are stripped or scuffed, or the case is cracked or leaking, the battery itself should be replaced.
- Batteries for fleet vehicles should be tested for charge before being deployed. A voltmeter, for example, can measure Open Circuit Voltage (OCV). The battery manufacturer’s specifications will indicate what OCV value corresponds to 100 percent State of Charge (SOC). If a charge is necessary, the battery manufacturer’s specifications will provide the proper charging guidance.
If batteries need replacement, premium batteries, such as virtually maintenance-free ODYSSEY® batteries, will provide greater durability and power than conventional lead acid batteries. ODYSSEY® batteries feature Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) construction. They are sealed to be non-spillable and leakproof, as well as shock- and vibration-resistant. They are manufactured with a proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology and the pure lead plates can be made thinner so that more can fit into the same battery footprint and provide additional surface area for more chemical reactions with the electrolyte. This enables ODYSSEY® batteries to generate twice the overall power of conventional batteries at up to 400 cycles at 80 percent Depth of Discharge (DOD).
ODYSSEY® batteries also can perform in temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C) and can fully recharge in as little as four hours. Even though they require a greater initial cost investment than conventional batteries, they save time by reducing maintenance and require less frequent replacement, as their rugged construction enables them to provide three to 10 years of service life. Other notable features include a shelf life of two years or 12.20V, whichever comes first, when stored on open circuit (i.e., nothing connected to the terminals), and they are backed by an industry-leading warranty.
Municipalities face many challenges in anticipating costs for snow removal services. Budgets must accommodate various expenses, some of which are as difficult to predict as the weather itself. Using premium batteries for the fleet, like ODYSSEY® batteries, may cost more initially, but their durability, power and dependability can help minimize unplanned downtime for fleet vehicles when they are needed most.
This year, EnerSys® marks 25 years of ODYSSEY® battery production. To follow the ODYSSEY® battery 25th Anniversary journey, visit our website at www.odysseybattery.com or connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by using the hashtag #MYODYSSEY.
EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, manufactures and distributes energy systems solutions and motive power batteries, specialty batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide. Energy Systems, which combine enclosures, power conversion, power distribution and energy storage, are used in the telecommunication, broadband and utility industries, uninterruptible power supplies and numerous applications. Motive power batteries and chargers are utilized in electric forklift trucks and other industrial electric powered vehicles requiring stored energy solutions. Specialty batteries are used in aerospace and defense applications, large over-the-road trucks, premium automotive, medical and security systems applications. EnerSys also provides aftermarket and customer support services to its customers in over 100 countries through its sales and manufacturing locations around the world. With the NorthStar acquisition, EnerSys has solidified its position as the market leader for premium Thin Plate Pure Lead batteries, which are sold across all three lines of business. More information regarding EnerSys can be found at www.enersys.com.