At the Mid America Truck show, which starts this week, Kenworth have announced a new technology starter system for production trucks. The US truck makers will now offer the Maxwell Technologies ultra-capacitor-based Engine Start Module (ESM) as a factory-installed option on new Kenworth T680 and T880 trucks in the US market.
Here in Australia, we saw the first example of this new ultra-capacitor technology at the 2008 Melbourne Truck Show. It was fitted to the Innovation Truck displayed on the Paccar stand. At the time, this was regarded as a cutting edge development. In the intervening years, Kenworth have continued to develop the system and have offered it as an aftermarket solution since 2011 in the US.
Ultra-capacitor technology provides high amounts of burst power, ideally suited for cranking and starting large diesel engines. Additionally, ultra-capacitors are said to have a long service life and perform well at cold temperatures.
The new starter system replaces one battery on the truck and delivers 1800 cold cranking amps (CCA) and peak power of 32.8 kW. In the US there are more than 2,000 ESMs installed in medium and heavy duty trucks.
With batteries no longer required for starting the truck, drivers can use truck accessories, such as lights and lift-gates, without worrying about whether there is sufficient power remaining to crank the engine or if they will need to call for a jump-start.
“Over the past three years, we’ve seen growing demand for Maxwell’s Engine Start Module as an aftermarket part to help improve truck performance and reliability,” said Dr. Franz Fink, President and CEO of Maxwell. “Now, with our partnership with Kenworth to offer this technology in new trucks, customers can immediately benefit from this cost-effective option to reduce downtime and maintenance costs caused by discharged batteries.”