Heavy-duty Work Truck Batteries


The ODYSSEY® battery journey began more than 25 years ago, when EnerSys® recognized the enormous potential of flat lead plate technology to create increased starting power, reliability, and longevity in batteries. In 1996, the company introduced ODYSSEY® batteries, incorporating proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology. The improved battery capabilities made possible by this technology opened the door to a wide range of potential transportation applications, and the attributes of ODYSSEY® battery made it an excellent prospect for use in the heavy-duty battery market.


In essence, rechargeable flooded lead acid battery technology has basically remained the same for more than 160 years; when submerged in acid (electrolyte), positive and negative lead plates create an electrochemical reaction. However, innovations regarding the structure, composition, and arrangement of the battery components, as well as improvements to the electrolyte, are responsible for extraordinary advancements in performance, capability, and endurance.

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EnerSys refined the technology further and engineered a battery that uses extremely thin pure lead plates separated by fiberglass mat that is saturated with electrolyte. The lead plates and glass mat are tightly compressed and contained by a durable outer case. This battery type is known as an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) TPPL battery.

The advantages with the AGM TPPL battery were instantly apparent; and by using pure lead plates rather than the lead alloy used in conventional lead acid batteries, the plates could be made much thinner. This meant that more plates could be used, providing more surface area to react with the electrolyte, thereby generating more power—up to double that of equally sized conventional flooded batteries.

The AGM TPPL construction of the battery also made it much less prone to damage due to shock and vibration. In addition, the electrolyte absorbed into the glass mat made the battery spill proof, and it could be mounted in any position, except upside down.

Water within batteries gets converted into gasses during recharging; in conventional batteries those gasses vent into the atmosphere, so they must be watered periodically to compensate for water loss. In addition, overwatering and underwatering can cause impairment to the battery. AGM TPPL batteries recombine the gasses back into the liquid, making them virtually maintenance-free with no watering ever required.

Other characteristics of ODYSSEY® batteries include better battery performance in extreme temperatures as low as -40 degrees F to as high as 176 degrees F—with higher Cold Cranking Amps (CCAs), faster recharging, and lower self-discharge rates. Furthermore, the TPPL design facilitates longer battery life—up to three times longer. It also features the highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead acid battery on the market; capable of 100% recharge in 4 to 6 hours.


Fast forward to today. Undoubtedly, the most important factor for a work truck battery is dependability. That’s a tall order when it comes to modern work trucks, considering the extra power needed to crank and start the vehicle as well as operate all of the onboard accessories required on the job. Let’s take a look at some of the demands placed upon work truck batteries to better understand all the ways that AGM TPPL technology provides solid advantages for heavy-duty work trucks. As always, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling and direct any questions to your battery professional.


Today’s work trucks are typically equipped with a variety of essential accessories required on the job, such as day cabs, sleeper cabs, dump trucks, reefer trucks, line haul, mixers, and liftgates. Whether it’s a heavy-duty commercial truck, an earth mover, a bus, or other vehicle, the vehicle’s electronics may also rely on a steady source of power to provide valuable data, direction, and even safety features. This is especially true with newer accessory-loaded vehicles. Auxiliary power drain can shorten the life of a battery if it isn’t designed for cycle service and deeper discharge. Batteries must be up to the challenge—even when the vehicle is idling or the engine is turned off.

Anti-idling laws

Many states have adopted anti-idling laws in an effort to cut down on emissions and air pollution. AGM TPPL batteries feature impressive deep cycling capability that enables truckers to keep onboard accessories running even when the engine is turned off.

Extreme weather

Work trucks must answer the call of duty regardless of the weather conditions. AGM TPPL batteries perform in conditions well below freezing, with higher CCAs. As the temperature drops and voltage levels decline in a battery, the freezing point of the electrolyte comes into play. While all batteries can freeze and become damaged, the key to maintaining them in cold weather is to keep them fully charged. AGM TPPL batteries possess a slower self-discharge rate and recharge faster, which makes them less susceptible to the effects of temperature.


Heavy-duty applications such as dump trucks undergo a lot of serious vibration on the job—and that vibration can influence the performance of the battery. Manufactured with a military inspired design, ODYSSEY® batteries are built to withstand heavy-duty environments and are very robust.


Conventional lead acid batteries require maintenance including regular watering. Virtually maintenance-free, non-spillable AGM TPPL batteries are sealed and do not require watering, saving manual labor and downtime. In addition, there are no worries regarding damage due to overwatering or underwatering.

Longer expected life also means less battery replacements, which is less time and expense in maintenance.


For a commercial work truck, lost time is lost money. With less maintenance, high reliability, and longer life, less downtime is the result. AGM TPPL batteries offer deep cycling capabilities, impressive starting power, and rapid recovery rates, minimizing the need for field service calls.


Unlike conventional flooded lead acid batteries, AGM TPPL batteries do not leak electrolyte. They also feature built-in valves to allow safe dispersal of any excess gas generation in the unlikely event of errant charging.

Cost v. Value

Conventional lead acid batteries may appear to be less expensive until you calculate several factors that include battery life, maintenance, performance, and downtime. The truth is, there is never a good time for a battery to become damaged or reach its end life, so it pays to choose a battery that is reliable, durable, and offers longer battery life.


For all the reasons mentioned in this article, you can see why AGM TPPL batteries are an excellent choice for heavy-duty work truck applications and should be strongly considered by operators and fleet managers alike.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of ODYSSEY® batteries’ introduction into the market. Today, the EnerSys brand has grown to power some of the hardest working vehicles on the planet. As times change, so will the demands of vehicles that rely on reserve power for the tasks they’re required to perform—whatever those tasks may be.


EnerSys is a global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. It manufactures and distributes energy systems solutions and motive power batteries, specialty batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories, and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions. Find out more, visit and

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