Trucking through the night

Alcoa AFL Automotive and Maxwell Technologies have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the development of a cold start system for the commercial transportation market.


Alcoa AFL Automotive and Maxwell Technologies announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the development of a cold start system for the commercial transportation market.



The companies will incorporate Maxwell’s BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors with AFL’s power management system to develop an engine starting system.



‘This phase will focus on the meshing of Alcoa’s and Maxwell’s technologies to produce the cold start system, with a goal of producing a system ready for testing and evaluation by truck OEMs by the end of the first quarter 2007,’ said Allen Zwierzchowski, President, Worldwide Components AFL Automotive.



‘AFL and Maxwell have been interacting technically for some time, and we have identified cold starting for commercial trucks as a significant market opportunity that the companies have agreed to address through a formal collaboration,’ said. Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell’s president and chief executive officer.



Increasing environmental regulations preclude the ability of operators to allow their trucks to run all night. More than 20 US states have enacted or are proposing regulations that prohibit running diesel truck engines overnight to power so-called ‘hotel loads’ – heating, cooling, entertainment and other driver comfort feature. Running those loads on battery power all night can leave the batteries with insufficient power to start the vehicle in the morning, especially in cold weather. ‘With the AFL-Maxwell cold starting system, the ultracapacitor pack would provide what amounts to an on-board jump-start capability,’ Zwierzchowski explained.



‘In addition, fleet owners incur significant costs due to vehicle downtime and jump-starting stranded trucks. Incorporating ultracapacitors to relieve batteries of demanding short-duration, high-current loads, such as cold starting, will improve overall system performance and reliability, extend battery life, and reduce battery maintenance and replacement costs,’ Zwierzchowski added.