The automotive car battery hasn’t been evolving as much even with the addition of more gadgets, more technology and other features. However, one technology directly linked to the humble 12-volt battery is the ‘Eco Idle’ or idling start-stop system.
First popularised in Malaysia by the Perodua Bezza in 2016, the majority of modern Perodua models (except the Alza) now feature this fuel-saving technology. Unfortunately, from the outside, the black maintenance-free battery looks exactly the same as any generic 12-volt battery.
As such, Bosch highlights that not all maintenance-free batteries are the same, and with idle start-stop function, even more differences are packed inside the anonymous-looking battery. These batteries are known as Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB) or deep cycle batteries, where it is loaded with more chemicals and different chemistry to withstand the high demands of charging and rapid discharging cycles (such as waiting at traffic lights, then restarting the engine).
For premium vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, a more advanced idle start-stop function combined with a regenerative braking system may require the Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries. These batteries, also pricier than EFB types, are designed to be more resistant to leakage and corrosion, thus enabling the supply of power over a longer service life.
Using a non-EFB or non-AGM battery on a vehicle with an idle start-stop system will not only accelerate the charge-discharge cycles of the battery but also damaging it, which may lead to further damages to the sensitive electrical and electronics system. It is thus a requirement than a recommendation to retain the same battery specifications for vehicles with an idle start-stop system.
While we weren’t driving as much during lockdown periods, suggestions were to start and idle the engine for 15 to 20 minutes every week to keep the battery charged. Bosch instead recommends continuous driving for a 30-minute duration at least one to two times a week to fully charge the 12-volt battery.
Those short trips to the grocery store or nearby food court are actually detrimental to the battery (and engine oil) as they make it difficult for the battery to maintain a full charge.
Should you want to purchase a battery from Bosch, head to the official Bosch Autoparts Official Store on Shopee. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific details about the battery, especially vehicles fitted with the idle start-stop system. Drivers are also welcomed to approach friendly Bosch Car Service or Bosch Preferred Workshops listed here on all car maintenance matters.
Apart from Perodua models, other mainstream models with the idling start-stop system that used EFB batteries include the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid, the range of Mazda vehicles and Lexus plus Japan-made Toyota models.
Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Malaysia also recommends the use of car batteries manufactured by reputable suppliers with reliable track records in automotive maintenance and aftersales services.