Swedish-US lead battery manufacturer North Star agreed a $500 million deal in September to supply German automaker Daimler with ultra high performance pure lead AGM batteries for the car firm’s Freightliner Cascadia trucks.
The seven-year partnership is a coup for North Star, whose CEO Hans Liden said he was happy to capture the Daimler business.
“There are very few people on the planet who make this kind of battery, a thin plate pure lead battery,” he said.
“We are a much smaller company than the other manufacturer and very happy to capture Daimler, with whom we have been working for two and a half years.
“This type of technology is especially suitable for heavy trucks, because of their high vibration — which means that traditional lead acid batteries only have a life expectancy of about a year, where ours is up to four years.”
Liden said the North Star battery was 2.2 times more expensive than a lead-acid equivalent, so with the extra life it offered, it made more economic sense.
“The battery has come out of our base stations, they were born out of reserve power,” he said.
“We always look at different technologies, and I do think our industry has shot itself in the foot with lead — people hear ‘lead’ and they hear ‘acid’ and they immediately think it’s really bad — but its recycling capability and its safety make it highly competitive with lithium-ion.”