Start-stop vehicles already account for most new vehicle registrations in Europe, and are entering the aftermarket in rapidly increasing numbers. In this article, Exide explains how the industry can take full advantage of the changes.
T he start-stop market is growing at an incredible pace. Research by Technavio suggests that start-stop technology will see a compound annual growth rate of 20% between 2018 and 2022, making it the fastest-growing segment of the automotive market. European countries were among the first to introduce start-stop vehicles, which are now a key part of most major automotive markets across the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Exide Technologies lays claim to being the inventor of Start-Stop AGM technology in 2004, and in 2008 invented Start-Stop EFB technology. Exide believes that garage owners need to get ready for the future, because start-stop AGM and EFB batteries will account for the majority of aftermarket sales in the UK by 2022.
The emergence of start-stop
Legislators around the world face the challenge of vastly reducing carbon emissions, in order to keep the increase in average global temperature below 2°C in the long term. As transport produces around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, legislators imposed tough targets on carmakers to improve the efficiency of their vehicles.
The EU was among the first to legislate, requiring carmakers to reduce emissions by 18% by 2015 and 40% by 2021, compared with the fleet average in 2007. Carmakers exceeding these limits for their fleet are charged a penalty proportionate to how widely the target is missed. These ambitious targets meant carmakers had to design more fuel-efficient cars, with fuel-saving features such as start-stop, which intelligently shuts down and starts the engine when it would otherwise be idling.
This frequent starting and stopping puts a huge strain on the battery, which is why specially designed start-stop batteries are required. These have far better electrical performance than a standard lead-acid battery, with exceptional power, cycle life and charge acceptance.
Four times greater cycling performance
The Exide Start-Stop AGM battery was first developed in the company’s original-equipment business. With each new generation, it has seen major advances. It offers more power, four times greater cycling performance than a standard lead-acid battery, and the exceptional charge performance required for the constant starting and stopping of the powertrain. The latest generation of Start-Stop AGM, which has been adopted by major carmakers, is ideal for larger vehicles and those with power-hungry electrical equipment.
As more start-stop cars enter the aftermarket, resellers are being advised to ensure the correct battery is fitted. Start-stop cars are designed for start-stop batteries. Conventional batteries are incompatible with the start-stop system, and fitting them will void the warranty. The best way to avoid this mistake is to carefully check fitment information, ensuring that the manufacturer considers the battery a good match for the vehicle.
In the case of incorrect fitment, neither the battery manufacturer nor the factor has liability to provide a replacement. The motorist is likely to hold the workshop responsible, especially given the rising knowledge of this issue in the marketplace. Workshops are therefore advised to ensure that staff are trained on incompatibility issues and the dangers of incorrect fitment. This could be a major problem for those who fail to take adequate precautions, especially given the rapid rise in start-stop vehicles entering the aftermarket.
The opportunities for garages
Reputation is more important than ever in the vehicle repair trade. It can take decades to build relationships with your customers, but all it takes is one bad experience and they may choose to take their business elsewhere.
There is an excellent opportunity for factors that give workshops the right level of guidance in navigating the challenges of start- stop. This means giving them correct fitment information, warning them about the dangers of incorrect fitment, and offering a range of quality batteries to choose from. Providing a quality service will lead to happy motorists – and more repeat business for both the factor and the workshop.