Historical Overview

Introduced into the Lucas range in the 1950s, the brand was the original equipment (OE) fitment battery for many British built cars during the ‘60s, including Aston Martin and Jaguar.

 

Such was their quality reputation that Sir Donald Campbell relied upon two 72Ah Lucas BV11A batteries to start the jet engine on the ill-fated Bluebird K7, in which in 1967, he attempted to increase his previous world speed records to more than 300 miles per hour (mph).

 

Although his first run of 297mph proved it was capable of such speeds, he sadly perished on the second run when the boat crashed at more than 320mph.

 

The wreck was raised in 2001 by a team headed by Campbell enthusiast and engineer, Bill Smith and incredibly, after the batteries were cleaned, the acid replaced and given significant charge, they still possessed 35% of their original capacity and were able to power four 100-watt bulbs!

 

ECOBAT Battery Technologies (EBT), formerly Manbat, has been responsible for Lucas batteries since 2009 and to date, sales have grown year-on-year. As a result, the brand has become one of the major players in terms of its aftermarket penetration for both the automotive and commercial vehicle (CV) markets.

 

Specification Icons

EBT’s commitment to the brand extends beyond merely sales and distribution, but also includes product specification requirements, cataloguing and design. The company’s contribution to the 2012 relaunch for example, further endorses its intimate relationship with the brand, as it undertook all the creative elements required in the process to ensure that the finished design reflected the requirements of both workshop technicians and those motorists who are still active under the bonnet, particularly through its clear information icons and powerful visual presence.

 

The icons convey whether the battery is maintenance free, for petrol or diesel vehicles, for those with increased power equipment demands or for start/stop equipped vehicles. They also indicate the level of warranty provided with the battery. This formula is also applied to the Lucas CV range, but with additional icons to define batteries with maximum power, long distance performance, extreme temperature resistance and frequent starting ability.

 

Market Research

It is clear from research conducted for EBT during Automechanika Birmingham in June, that there is still confusion in the marketplace when it comes to the process and tools technicians require to change the battery in a start/stop equipped vehicle, as well as a failure to recognise that it requires a specific battery type.

 

This lack of awareness is a major cause of many of the problems inherent in modern battery replacement, as installing an unsuitable battery design in a start/stop equipped vehicle, will lead to its premature failure and subsequently, a very dissatisfied customer.

 

Proof that many technicians are unaware of the differences between the batteries available in the aftermarket comes from their responses when asked to provide the correct meaning of the acronyms SLI, AGM and EFB.

 

Remarkably, of more than 400 technicians questioned, less than one in 10 answered starter lights ignition, absorbent glass mat and enhanced flooded battery for the corresponding SLI, AGM and EFB acronyms.

 

This reinforces the fact that rather than understanding that these batteries are profoundly different and are designed for differing applications – SLI batteries for traditional applications without a start/stop function, EFB for entry-level start/stop vehicles and AGM for larger start/stop vehicles that could also feature regenerative braking etc – many technicians obviously think they are just letters, without any associated meaning, which is a fundamental problem for the industry.

 

It is for precisely this reason that every Lucas battery features the specification icons mentioned previously. So, for technicians, the message is clear – if a Lucas battery has a start/stop icon, it can be fitted to a start/stop equipped vehicle, if it doesn’t, it can’t – end of.

Extended Warranties

EBT has recently introduced a performance upgrade and a market-leading three, four, five-year warranty structure for the Lucas passenger car range.

 

These performance improvements have yielded an increase in CCA (cold cranking amps) of almost 20%, which means that those choosing to supply and fit Lucas can have complete confidence in the quality of the product, as well as its ability to provide the long term durability and exceptional starting performance epitomised by the brand.

 

The icing on this significant increase, is an unrivalled warranty structure that means that even the entry level Classic series comes with a three-year pledge. Move up to Premium, which features matching OE specification and calcium plate technology and the term increases to four years. However, those relying on Supreme, which exceeds OE specification and is the ideal solution for high performing diesel engines or electrically laden applications, can benefit from five years of motoring peace-of-mind.

 

In addition to automotive batteries, the Lucas range now includes CV, leisure, marine, mobility, golf batteries and motorcycle, as well as industrial batteries for among others, the materials handling sector and therefore provides factors, workshops and motorists with the complete battery solution.