A unique battery service programme for vehicles with Start-Stop engines has been developed by Johnson Controls to provide independent workshops with total product support and training for this new market, which is set to expand rapidly within a relatively short timeframe.
At the heart of the VARTA Start-Stop Service programme(VSSP) is a wi-fi diagnostic tool smaller than an iPad, which allow technicians to manage all the steps necessary to test start-stop systems and replace the Absorbent glass mat (AGM) or Enhanced Flooded (EFB) batteries they rely on to achieve fuel and CO2 emission savings of between five and 12%.
Johnson Controls predicts that by 2015, 70% of all new vehicles manufactured will feature Start-Stop technology. According to Joacim Adlerborn, Training and Technical Services Manager at Johnson Controls, the majority of independent workshops still feel ill-equipped to service these vehicles.
“On the one hand 70% of independent workshops consider the subject relevant for the near future,” he says, “but 60% are still unprepared for repairing a Start-Stop car, and 80% would even defer their customers to their vehicle manufacturer dealer network.”
Stemming directly from a market survey of 1,200 workshops in Europe carried out by Johnson Controls, the company has developed a compact and robust electronic tool that is easy to operate and has access to all the latest data at all times. Replacing a Start-Stop battery is not like replacing a conventional car battery, as it is intricately linked to the on-board electronics via a battery management system (BMS) or intelligent battery sensor (IBS).
The VSSP tool first ascertains the vehicle and battery type, and then provides the technician with precise information on the position of the battery (often hidden away in the boot or under the driver’s seat) and the EOBD (European on-board diagnostics) interface with the aid of a 2D code and VIN number.
The technician is given a step-by-step guide to replacing the battery via on-screen images and graphics using the touch screen. The VSSP 2.0 can also be used to test the battery, evaluate or delete error codes and read individual vehicle data. Armed with this information, the technician knows which VARTA replacement battery is suitable for the vehicle.
By regularly connecting the device to Johnson Controls’ secure area for partners via wireless internet, workshops can keep the device up to date, as well as access all relevant data on battery replacement online at any time.
Supporting the diagnostic tool is a full service programmedeveloped for Johnson Controls by eXponentia to assist workshops in staff training. Johnson Controls also offers technical support through e-learning via the internet.
eXponentia is the leading European provider of vehicle systems training for workshops, combining theory and practice to enable repairers to carry out even the most complex repairs.
“This compensates for the leading edge in knowledge gained by the dealer networks, and helps eliminate problems when servicing or repairing Start-Stop systems,” says Mr. Adlerborn.
To enable workshops to provide customers with a comprehensive quality endorsement, VSSP offers a two year VARTA mobility guarantee. Additional marketing support, such as registered partner exterior signage, and a range of promotional material is also available to support the workshop.
“The device and all that goes with it is provided automatically by Johnson Controls,” explains Mr. Adlerborn. “It is important to us to make the transition to the Start-Stop vehicle segment as easy and cost-effective for workshops as possible with so many cars now featuring this technology, and many more to come. Workshops must prepare themselves as quickly as possible.”
Workshops who are interested in registering for the VARTA Start-Stop Service programme can obtain a licencepackage from their VARTA dealer, which they can use to register online. Licencepackages will be available via the VARTA network to workshops from 1st March onwards. Workshops who would like to register their interest should call Johnson Controls on 01753 480610.