Firefly equips transit fleet with micro-cell battery

Posted on March 25, 2009

Peoria, Illinois-based battery technology company Firefly Energy  will equip a public transit fleet for the first time with its advanced technology battery. CityLink, the mass transit provider for the greater Peoria area, has signed on as the company’s first public transportation customer.

In its initial roll-out, CityLink has purchased 36 of Firefly’s patented microcell foam Group 31 batteries, known as the Oasis. The batteries will equip nine CityLink buses, replacing traditional batteries that have a much shorter life on the new technologically-sophisticated buses that CityLink employs in its fleet.

“CityLink is excited to be the first bus company in the nation to experience the advantages of the new Firefly Oasis battery,” said Tom Lucek, CityLink general manager. “Like modern automobiles and trucks, our newer buses have many more onboard electronic systems which are increasingly putting stress on our traditionally-utilized batteries. Keeping our buses running optimally is imperative in serving our riders, and so is saving on maintenance costs. We’re looking forward to powering-up our buses with Firefly” Lucek concluded.

Firefly’s advanced battery technology comprises the use of lightweight, non-corroding and non-sulfating microcell foam plates to replace the heavy non-conductive lead metal plates typical of traditional lead acid batteries. The result is that the Oasis battery’s performance and reliability rise dramatically, making these advanced batteries more attractive in terms of total cost-of-ownership compared to the more frequent costs incurred in replacing traditional lead acid batteries, according to company officials.

The wide-ranging hot and cold weather in Central Illinois presents challenges to all modes of ground transportation, including CityLink’s bus lines. Battery life is severely reduced, and when the temperature dips below zero, this leads to more frequent no-starts. Firefly’s battery has a much higher tolerance for weather extremes, making transportation more reliable.

CityLink also employs many more electronics on its bus line, compared to buses previously operated. This is taxing on traditional batteries because the many onboard electronics keeps batteries in a constant partial state-of-charge. This leads to sulfation or “memory,” which is detrimental to a battery - causing decreased battery run times, and dramatically reducing its lifespan. The Oasis battery, with its microcell foam technology, eliminates this sulfation problem, hence providing ample reserve power and much longer cycle life.


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