Fleet managers on the effectiveness of today's batteries

Point/Counterpoint: Fleet managers on the effectiveness of today’s batteries

We’ve been over the dangers of parasitic loads and the methods that can help prevent them. But what do fleet managers think? Are they finding problems with today’s batteries being able to handle the new technology in trucks? We interviewed two fleet managers, and got two drastically different answers.

Batteries aren’t an issue…

“We run day cab units only; we have not experienced any new problems with battery drain,” says Dan Vander Pol, director of maintenance for Oak Harbor Freight Lines. “Our charging/battery system life has not changed. Our aggressive preventive maintenance program eliminates a lot of potential problems.

“The OEM has increased the alternator output to compensate for the additional electrical needs the new trucks require,” he continues. “We also have spec’d LED (low amp) lighting whenever available to help reduce the load on the charging/battery system.”

…Unless they are

“We’re seeing a lot of premature battery failures in the range of 12 to 16 months of purchase, mainly in new trucks,” says Pete Nativo, director of maintenance for Oakley Transport. “The newer technology in trucks require more APMs to run the truck. Our fleet currently has 100% APU-installed systems, and even with those on board we’re not seeing adequate battery life like we have over the years.

“We need a good long lasting battery that can handle the new technology. We cannot restrict our drivers from using their electronics because they’re on the road for long periods of time.”

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