The Impact of Summer Heat on Idling Police Cruisers

Hot summer temperatures can be tough to weather—especially for motor vehicles—driving up the temperature under the hood so much that it can lead to engine overheating and even accelerate the onset of battery failure. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), car drivers are at a higher risk of getting into accidents during the summer season than at any other time of the year and one of the underlying causes for this seasonal spike during June, July and August is due to vehicle equipment failure from excessive heat. Fleet vehicles that are in constant use with limited opportunity to cool down are especially susceptible to the effects of heat.

Many first responder vehicles, such as police cruisers, idle while in service despite recent efforts to curb emissions and reduce fuel consumption, to keep their systems ready to respond to situations at a moment’s notice.

It’s important to realize that every system in a police cruiser is enhanced compared to an ordinary car, from wiring to brakes and even larger radiators, to insure against overheating. The electrical system must handle a far greater load compared to the average automotive vehicle to power the many electronic systems onboard such as 2-way radios, computers, lights, sirens, Global Position System (GPS) tracking devices, cameras, scanners, climate control and more.

The demand for dependable, long-lasting power to keep systems running intensifies with the summer heat. Police cruisers typically use a heavy-duty alternator that can provide over 200 amps—more than twice the amount of a typical car. The alternator generates electricity from power supplied by the running engine and recharges the cruiser’s battery. A larger, robust, heavy-duty battery is required to bolster the electrical system and take over supplying power, keeping all systems active.

Excessive heat can shorten battery life due to loss of water. While water can be added to flooded lead acid batteries, this can become a frequent maintenance issue in seasonal high temperatures and warmer climates. This means downtime for “always-in-demand” police cruisers. Many municipal fleet managers have installed Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries in police vehicles instead because of the many benefits they offer.

AGM batteries are an effective stored energy solution to help beat the heat. AGM type batteries are sealed, meaning there is never a need to add water. However, there is still some water loss that can occur, so choosing a high-quality battery is essential to obtain the longest battery life despite high temperatures.

AGM batteries, specifically ODYSSEY® batteries from EnerSys®, are an excellent choice for police cruisers and other first response vehicles. Manufactured with proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, they offer several advantages.

Exceptional temperature resistance

ODYSSEY® batteries can perform in extreme weather conditions at temperatures as low as 40°F (-40°C) to as high as 176°F (80°C).

Vibration resistance

Developed from military design, featuring a rugged, non-spillable construction to protect against high-impact shock and mechanical vibration, helping to ensure longer service life.

Deep cycle capability

ODYSSEY® batteries can supply more power for longer periods of time.

Massive starting power

ODYSSEY® batteries offer double the cranking power of equally sized conventional lead acid batteries.

Slower self-discharge rates

ODYSSEY® batteries can be stored safely for longer periods of time with less corrosion, and recharge faster.

Longer battery life

ODYSSEY® batteries offer three times the life of conventional flooded lead acid batteries.

Virtually maintenance-free

There is never a need to add water to ODYSSEY® batteries.

You can’t control the weather, but you can prepare for it. By selecting ODYSSEY® batteries, managers of police and rescue fleets can take a giant step toward helping to beat the heat through mile after mile.

To follow the latest ODYSSEY® battery news, visit our website at or connect with us on InstagramTwitter, 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


Sustainability at EnerSys is about more than just the benefits and impacts of our products. Our commitment to sustainability encompasses many important environmental, social and governance issues. Sustainability is a fundamental part of how we manage our own operations. Minimizing our environmental footprint is a priority. Sustainability is our commitment to our employees, our customers and the communities we serve. Our products facilitate positive environmental, social and economic impacts around the world. To learn more visit: