THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - January '15

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January 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 57 the conventional flooded type battery." "AGM batteries typically provide 30- to 40-percent more power during the first five seconds than a similar flooded battery," Hellmund adds. "While this is not an offi- cial battery rating, it is significant because most vehicles will start within a 3-second window. Another big advantage of an AGM-style battery is that it won't gas dur- ing normal charging, avoiding corrosion of the terminals, cables and battery tray." New Edge AGM batteries from Exide Americas offer SureLife, "a carbon-boost technology that allows faster recharging," says Pauken. "We've also used better car- bon materials to create Enhanced Flooded batteries, which Exide has launched in Europe to meet the needs of start/stop vehicles." Several battery manufacturers are promoting Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, "to maximize surface area and conductivity," says Catalano, "while lower- ing resistance and increasing power output. Our Stinger Power2 batteries push an aver- age of 350 watts per pound," so enthusiasts can choose smaller, lighter cells for space and weight savings, with no loss of power; or larger cells for higher output demands." Odyssey batteries also use TPPL tech- nology to deliver "the highest CCA and true deep cycle support," says Essig, "up to 400 charge/discharge cycles to 80-per- cent depth of discharge." AGM construc- tion means they are "sealed and safe to be mounted in any position except inverted. In fact, they are rated non-spill-able and non-hazardous by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the International Air Transport Association." That obviously makes them easier to fit and/or even conceal in a custom applica- tion, aided further by a variety of optional terminal configurations. A good quality Absorbed Glass Mat battery can help to handle larger loads, and can more eas- ily withstand deep discharges. (Photo courtesy XS Power) New from Interstate is the MT7 line of flat-plate sealed AGM batteries. "Interstate has carried the Optima spiral cell AGM that most people are familiar with for many years," says Hellmund. "Our new MT7 line incorporates the best features of an AGM battery, but in a more efficient flat-plate package. Additionally, the MT7 uses a very pure lead—99.99-percent pure—unlike most other AGM batteries that use recycled or alloyed lead. Pure lead provides better charge acceptance, high resistance to cor- rosion and better cycling characteristics." For 2015, XS Power has released "a reversed-polarity version of our most popular 12-volt battery, the D3400," says Johnson, adding that many performance applications, including the Ford Mustang, require a reverse-terminal battery. Lightening With Lithium Lithium-ion batteries depart from lead-acid technology completely, relying instead on alternating sheets of lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) and carbon, sepa- rated by an ion-permeable polymer and packed in pressurized ether. Lithium-ion batteries also require an integrated elec- tronic control circuit to manage charge/ discharge functions—which adds to their already significant cost. A major advantage is weight reduction, which is mainly why lithium batteries have gained ground in racing and marine applications. They also recharge faster, and can be discharged and recharged through many more cycles. Some sources question their cold- weather performance, but according to Kevin Bennett, president of Lithium Pros in Knoxville, Tennessee, "lithium-ion bat- teries deliver in general twice the power output of lead-acid, and have no problem starting an engine. Lithium-ion battery sales worldwide are expected to double from 2012 to 2016, and the lithium-ion battery of the future holds even more promise. The collective efforts of govern- ment as well as private research continue to bring improvements in performance, energy density (i.e. cost), and safety." Bennett points out that the growing ranks of DIY electric-vehicle enthusiasts tend to favor "large-format prismatic lithium-ion cells" for their relatively low cost—around 50 cents per watt-hour— whereas "mainline OEMs typically use pouch-type cells, which offer higher energy density, more power and longer cycle life; albeit at a premium price." This is the technology favored by Lithium Pros as well. With these higher- tech cells, "charging times are falling as power output increases, and charge times of 10 minutes are within sight." That said, "the biggest recent gains have been in the area of improved battery management"—both in the industry in general, and in the Lithium Pros product line. "Specifically, we've reduced the cur- rent consumption of the battery manage- The Big Three Upgrade consists of upgrading the power wire to the alternator, the ground wire from the battery to the chassis, and the ground from engine block to chassis. (Photo courtesy XS Power)

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