ODYSSEY® Batteries Keep Heavy-Duty Vehicles on the Road in Winter Weather

In the winter, many people are accustomed to warming up their vehicles before driving in cold weather. This is no longer necessary, as today’s engines warm up more quickly when driven than when idling. Even though conventional wisdom still encourages warming up the engine, automotive manufacturers recommend otherwise.

Diesel-powered vehicles, including heavy duty trucks (i.e., Classes 7, 8 and 9), previously required lengthier idling to warm up the engine and decrease oil viscosity. Improvements in diesel refining and automotive technology have reduced the time needed to warm up the engine, with recommendations ranging from two to 10 minutes. The engine then will continue to warm up more quickly once the vehicle is in motion.

According to Diesel Hub, an online library of technical information about diesel vehicles, diesel engines run rough when cold but the truck must be driven to reach optimum temperature. Even though diesel engines may need to idle several minutes longer than gasoline-powered engines, excessive idling can cause “wet stacking,” which occurs when lower temperatures result in incomplete combustion that can contaminate the crank case with particles of unburnt fuel.

Drivers of heavy-duty vehicles also must comply with regulatory requirements from the federal and state governments to restrict idling. These restrictions have been in effect to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. A ban on idling also has provided a means for heavy-duty fleets to reduce fuel costs and led drivers to find alternative means of powering hotel loads. Among these means is the vehicle’s battery.

A reliable battery is especially critical in winter for more than starting the engine and powering the lights. Drivers depend upon the battery to provide a few hours of energy for hotel loads, including the heater. The need to meet the demands of Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI) and provide adequate support to hotel loads, which have become more significant since no-idling restrictions have been implemented, requires a battery with both starting and cycling capacity.

ODYSSEY® batteries are made with proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology that produces a deep cycling capacity of 400 charge/discharge cycles at 80 percent Depth of Discharge (DOD). The ODYSSEY® ODX-AGM31 battery, for example is one of the most common sizes for heavy-duty vehicles, offers a 20-hour nominal capacity of 100Ah and a reserve capacity of 220 minutes.

Pure lead enables the plates in an ODYSSEY® battery to be thinner so more fit into the same footprint of a comparably sized, conventional flooded lead acid battery. The additional plates provide greater surface area for the electrochemical reactions with the electrolyte to produce twice the cranking power and double to triple the five-second cranking pulse of a conventional flooded lead acid battery. ODYSSEY® batteries also recharge to 100 percent in four to six hours.

Pure lead plates also eliminate the risk of galvanic corrosion, which occurs when two dissimilar metals come into contact. Additionally, ODYSSEY® batteries handles sulfation, which is the accumulation of lead sulfate crystals on the plates when the battery is persistently undercharged, better than other lead acid types.

ODYSSEY® batteries are Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, in which the plates are packed tightly in absorbent fiberglass separators that hold the electrolyte and are sealed. The seal eliminates the risk of spillage and leakage and enables ODYSSEY® batteries to be classified as “non-spillable” with the U.S. Department of Transportation. No acid can spill, even if the battery gets cracked or broken. Among other advantages of sealed batteries are that they never require water, making them virtually maintenance-free, are shock- and vibration-resistant, which eliminates a leading cause of premature failure, and can be mounted in any position except inverted.

During cross-country rides, drivers may encounter a range of temperatures from 0ºF (-17.78ºC) to 100ºF (37.78ºC). ODYSSEY® batteries, however, offer an operating range -40ºF (-40ºC) to 176ºF (80ºC).

Drivers of heavy-duty vehicles must be prepared for winter with a battery that not only runs in cold weather, but also supports the heater and other hotel loads. With the help of a premium battery, it is easier for drivers to comply with non-idling restrictions while benefiting from the reliability, power, durability and longevity of an ODYSSEY® battery.

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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


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