Solar Power Keeps Liftgates Running and Trucks on Schedule
It’s the call no fleet operator wants to get. One of your trucks is out on delivery, with several stops still to make on a tight schedule. Then the driver calls — the truck’s liftgate batteries have failed. Your truck and driver are stranded, and you’re faced with an expensive service call. You pick up the phone to make another call, this time to a customer who’s going to be very unhappy over the missed delivery deadline.
Liftgate batteries are a weak link in many trucking operations. These rear-mounted batteries are typically charged by the truck’s alternator. Voltage drops as power routes through the truck’s wiring, making it difficult to keep the voltage high enough to effectively charge the liftgate batteries. This is especially true on trailers, where the liftgate batteries can be mounted more than 60 feet from the charging source.
Frequent pick-up and delivery stops make the problem worse, as the tractor’s alternator doesn’t run long enough to replenish the liftgate batteries. Traditionally trucks have been left idling stops — and burning expensive fuel —in order to keep charging the liftgate batteries. New environmental laws in many states and provinces now prohibit extended idling, eliminating this as a charging option.
Liftgate failures can negatively impact trucking operations in terms of both hard and soft costs:
Downtime — When a liftgate is stuck, deliveries get backed up and you continue to pay your driver.
Service Calls — Replacing batteries or getting an emergency charge on the road is expensive and time-consuming.
Battery Replacement Costs — Liftgate batteries that aren’t kept at a healthy charge deteriorate faster and require more frequent replacement.
Customer Satisfaction — Customers hate missed deliveries and deadlines. You may incur missed delivery penalties, or worse, your customer may start looking for an alternative provider.
Go Power! solar charging solutions provide a simple, cost-effective way to keep liftgate batteries charged and healthy.
Solar FlexTM solar panels, mounted flat on the trailer or service body, supplement alternator power and keep liftgate batteries charged and healthy.
Go Power! systems are available in both ready-made and custom formats, are easy to install, and are built tough to meet demanding commercial trucking requirements.
Improving Battery Life and Performance
Lift batteries need to maintained at a full charge (12.7-14.4 volts) in order to provide optimal performance and maximum battery life. Once voltage dips below a ‘satisfactory’ level (12.2 volts) battery deterioration accelerates, dramatically reducing battery life.
In repeated tests performed using aging liftgate batteries, traditional charging held batteries in a fully charged state for only 26% of the time, while the Go-Power! Solution kept the same batteries completely charged for 69% of the time — essentially halting battery degradation.
The Go Power! solution also kept batteries out of the critical ‘low voltage’ range (<12.2 volts) for all but 4% of the time, versus 20% for traditional charging methods.
Based on these results, fleet operators deploying Go Power! solar solutions should expect up to a 3x improvement in the lifespan of liftgate batteries, extending replacement cycles from months to years.
Minimize Downtime — Go Power! solar solutions keep liftgate batteries charged and trucks on the road. Better battery performance means fewer expensive service calls.
Reduce Fuel Consumption —Eliminate idling and save $25-40 per day in fuel costs while reducing your environmental footprint. Can also power your flashers and lights without using a generator.
Prolong Battery Life — Extend the working life of your liftgate batteries up to three times with Go Power! solar technology.
Improve Customer Satisfaction — Better liftgate battery performance means fewer breakdowns, more on-time deliveries, and happier customers.