When your business depends on keeping your trucks on the move, you can’t afford to continually jump-start dead batteries. That was the challenge faced by resource management leader, SUEZ North America.
Paramus, New Jersey-based SUEZ, has been an innovator in water and waste for 150 years and boasts a rich history in North America. Founded as the Hackensack Water Company in 1869, they were the first company to use chlorine in the water supply (1908), the first to use charcoal filtration (1930), and opened the largest ozone filtration plant in the US (1989).
Today SUEZ provides water and waste water services to more than 7.5 million people across the United States and Canada. To meet that demand, SUEZ deploys a large fleet of utility trucks and vans equipped with Intermotive’s Eco-Star idle reduction system. This innovative system restricts idling, lowering fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
Those vehicles, however, have heavy power requirements when parked on the job—test equipment, tools, lights, and a range of electronics. Without an idling truck to provide a charging source, all that equipment can quickly drain vehicle batteries, leaving the truck and driver stranded with the job often left unfinished.
While the price tag for on-road service calls and boosts was significant, those weren’t the only costs that SUEZ incurred. Vehicle downtime meant lower fleet productivity and frequently discharged deep cycle batteries, which led to reduced battery life and premature, expensive replacements.
HERE COMES THE SUN
With conventional idling and generator solutions ruled out for battery recharging, SUEZ operations in New Jersey, West Nyack, and Westchester, New York, turned to an innovative solution from Go Power!, North America’s leader in mobile solar power technology for more than 25 years. Go Power! provides a full range of solar solutions for commercial fleets, marine, and recreational vehicle applications.
Go Power! recommended a flexible charging system for the SUEZ fleet, designed to deliver a consistent battery charge during daylight hours, whether vehicles were in transit, on the job, or even sitting in the yard.
SUEZ installed Go-Power!’s Flex-200 solar kits on the company’s fleet trucks—two 100 watt ultra-thin, flexible solar panels paired with a sophisticated digital controller. The two-panel configuration continuously tops up vehicle batteries, while providing redundancy and sufficient power—even for fleet assets operating in the Northeast during the low-light winter months.
Retrofitting the SUEZ vehicles for solar was simple, as Go Power! provided both ready-made and custom kits that were quick and easy to install and built tough enough to meet the demanding requirements of the SUEZ fleet.
Why is solar power so effective at maintaining battery performance, and why did SUEZ embrace the Go Power! solution?
Truck batteries should be maintained at a full charge (12.7 to 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 batteries, traditional charging held batteries in a fully charged state for only 26 percent of the time, while the Go-Power! solution kept the same batteries completely charged for 69 percent of the time.
The Go Power! solution also kept batteries out of the critical “low voltage” range (less than 12.2 volts) for all but 4 percent of the time versus 20 percent for traditional charging methods—essentially halting battery degradation.
Based on these results, fleet operators deploying Go Power! solar solutions may expect up to three times improvement in the lifespan of their fleet batteries, extending replacement cycles from months to years.
It didn’t take long for the SUEZ team to start seeing positive results from the Go Power! fleet solution.
The SUEZ team reported that the requirement for battery-related service calls and jump starts was cut by almost 50 percent. Battery replacement in Go Power!-equipped vehicles has also been virtually eliminated—a significant savings, given the average cost of an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery exceeds $250.
SUEZ is seeing other significant benefits as well:
Less Downtime: With Go Power! keeping truck batteries fully charged, power-related service calls and unscheduled stops are a rarity for the SUEZ fleet. Less downtime promises greater fleet efficiency and higher driver productivity.
Reduced Fuel Consumption: By eliminating idling, SUEZ has lowered daily fuel costs while also reducing their environmental footprint. Doing away with generator requirements also represents significant fuel and maintenance savings.
Improved Customer Satisfaction: Better battery performance means fewer breakdowns, more on-time deliveries, and happier customers.
There’s one other important benefit for SUEZ, of course. As a renewable resource company, the use of sustainable, clean energy is embedded in the culture of the organization.
By working with Go Power! to lower fuel costs, minimize battery replacements, and leverage renewable solar power, SUEZ is remaining true to its commitment:
“For us, this isn’t just an idea—it’s the philosophy at the heart of our business that we put into practice each and every day.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Find out more about Go Power!, visit www.gopowerfleet.com/s/work-truck/.