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Old 14th June 2012, 23:42   #241
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
In my 28+ years of riding/driving with all sorts of batteries fixed on 2 and 4 wheelers, one thing I note is that acid leakage has been the result of one or more of 3 issues:

a) Overfilling by over enthusiastic service men at car service and battery dealers to increase the duration for the next top up so it doesnt run dry before then.

b) High charging voltage i.e. over 14.4v or 7.2v for a legacy 6v bike system.

c) Breather pipe on bike not fitted and/or routed properly - My RX100's Yuasa (later AMCO Yuasa) suffered from this back in 1987-88 but it was totally my fault for not having checked the pipe after a top up.

I do not discount the fact that the OEM battery case ultrasonic 'welding' with its top could be poor and/or sub standard materials cause MAY cause acid leak. Having grown up in an era i.e. the 70s/80s when sub standard items were the norm, the Jap focus on quality led to a large improvement in reliability. I witnessed companies like Exide and Standard batteries (later Std Furukawa, now SF) up their game.

I have seen a Ford Fiesta's diesel Motorcraft battery wall flexible enough to push it in with my thumb, much like a hard balloon! So Exide is not the only guilty party - blame our vehicle mfrs for installing the cheapest possible built-to-a-price batteries.

Many of us car enthusiasts go in for after market stereo and tyre replacements once they take delivery of the vehicles, spending tens of thousands in the process. May be it is time to add a few thousands more to add a reliable battery to the list?

I finally settled for a Matrix.......So far so good ! Time will tell !
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Old 15th June 2012, 01:08   #242
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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I finally settled for a Matrix.......So far so good ! Time will tell !
Hey that's good. Do keep us updated with your feedback. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Raccoon View Post
Seems many people have used sealed UPS batteries on their vehicles without apparent issues. It has also been reported that they last much longer than automobile batteries. Strange why they dont make such batteries for bikes. Vested interests I guess...
AGM/VRLA batteries use lower charging voltages 13.5-13.75v compared to wet CA/CA, Pb/CA batteries which use 13.8-14.4v. The lower voltages in VRLAs is to preserve the water content in the absorbed glass mats as they are fully sealed units. Also, these batteries are very sensitive to ambient temps. The heat in an engine compartment would be highly detrimental to a UPS AGM/VRLA battery. It is probably better off in a bike as it is away from the heat of the engine.

Optima batteries are AGM/VRLA for automobiles were available via Amaron outlets but at frightfully high prices of 9-15K depending on the capacity. Vehicles that come with these batteries from the factory, especially found in the high end European marques, have their regulator output voltage and charging curves set in line with VRLA/AGM requirements. Also, many of these cars have the batteries in the boot where there is no heat from the engine which in turn extends battery life

Last edited by R2D2 : 15th June 2012 at 01:18.
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Old 15th June 2012, 11:15   #243
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

I suggested this (poor exide quality) to a dealer who sells exide, amaron and bosch. His response is that exide sells more batteries than other batteries combined, so it is natural that more failures are reported. This, as per him, is because people amplify every failure but tend to forget about the huge number of good batteries. Could this be true?

My personal experience with Bosch was worse than Exide, but that's just me.
Dad's experience with Exide is not so good either.

Last edited by jinojohnt : 15th June 2012 at 11:19.
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Old 15th June 2012, 11:44   #244
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Not trying to defend Exide but in terms of turnover Exide (net sales Rs 5318 crore) is about 8 times larger than Amaron (net sales Rs 670 crore). So it can be assumed that in the market also Exide sells about 8 times more than Amarons.

Both are publicly listed companies and this turnover information is in the public domain. Monthly unit sales figure is very very difficult to collate.

The inclination to remember and talk about a bad experience is universal and across all categories of products and services. The unique problem with battery is that every time the car does not start people suspect the battery to be faulty. More often than not the root problem lies somewhere else and the battery is the last part to give in. But the entire blame goes to the battery because it is most visible and easy to catch in that chain.

The battery is like the referee in a football match. It is noticed only when something goes wrong.

Incidentally a shop that sells Exide, Amaron and Bosch (also perhaps Minda and Yuasa) at the same time is perhaps not an authorised dealer of any of the brands. I am not saying what he is doing is illegal. But he must be a very small operator and probably has some other related business like tyre . He is buying the various batteries from various authorised distributors and reselling them. And I would agree with what he is saying about Exide :-)

EDIT

I am sorry about a dreadful error in my figures in post #244. The Amara Raja net turnover is Rs 2367 crore. Therefore the sentence that Exide sells eight times more than Amara Raja is wrong. Sorry about the goof up. It is not intentional. Wish I could edit that post but it is too late.

Last edited by GTO : 16th June 2012 at 09:37. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 15th June 2012, 12:47   #245
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
I suggested this (poor exide quality) to a dealer who sells exide, amaron and bosch. His response is that exide sells more batteries than other batteries combined, so it is natural that more failures are reported. This, as per him, is because people amplify every failure but tend to forget about the huge number of good batteries. Could this be true?

My personal experience with Bosch was worse than Exide, but that's just me. Dad's experience with Exide is not so good either.
I would tend to agree with your dealer's statement though there would be commercial interests tinting his response. If you were to look at this whole thing very neutrally without flying into a tizzy at the mere mention of the name Exide, it is logical to note that a larger manufacturer like Exide, which supplies to almost all car mfrs and has a dealership network that rivals our neighbourhood kiranawalla or dare I say a paan shop in terms of sheer numbers, would have a larger customer base and a correspondingly larger number of people/customers noting and reporting defects.

Exide has gone from having a turnover of Rs 954 crore in 2000-01 to Rs 5,107 Cr in FY2012. Strangely enough it is debt free! Now IMO you don't go from 950 Cr to 5107 in 11 years with a profit margin of 9% (excellent for a manufacturing company rivalling NP %age of many IT companies) in FY12 by making shoddy products - no matter how much some of us may dislike the brand and seethe and froth at the mouth at the mere mention of the name. Amaron is still a distant 2nd, clocking revenues of Rs 2371 crores and a NP of Rs 215 crores a margin of 9% i.e same as Exide. Amara Raja was founded in Dec 1985. It clocks an even better growth from Rs just 18.82 crores in 2001-02 to what it is today. It has obviously chewing into Exide's market share.

Wonder how Tata Green is doing. I really wish we could get advanced batteries like Optima, Exide (the US brand, present through Prestolite) with their VRLA/AGM batteries.

Sources of info -

Exide - Welcome to Exide Industries Limited

Amara Raja - Amara Raja -Investor Relation - Financial Results

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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Not trying to defend Exide but in terms of turnover Exide (net sales Rs 5318 crore) is about 8 times larger than Amaron (net sales Rs 670 crore). So it can be assumed that in the market also Exide sells about 8 times more than Amarons.
Not quite - latest yearly financial results are above and links provided.

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The unique problem with battery is that every time the car does not start people suspect the battery to be faulty. More often than not the root problem lies somewhere else and the battery is the last part to give in.
Agreed, the battery seems to be the favourite fall guy errr part. And it is one of the least maintained parts in the car. People just think it will go on and on and on like Amaron claim their batteries do. Not so. They need a bit of looking after.
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Old 16th June 2012, 08:59   #246
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Not quite - latest yearly financial results are above and links provided.
I corrected myself in the very next post.

The problem with Exide, in certain segments, is what you can call "anti incumbency". As a brand it's in India for more than a hundred years now. As a manufacturing company it is there since 1947. So some people find it too old and stodgy and they want to give their latest cars the "latest" names - be it battery or engine oil or whatever. I can't blame them.
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Old 16th June 2012, 09:18   #247
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I corrected myself in the very next post.

The problem with Exide, in certain segments, is what you can call "anti incumbency". As a brand it's in India for more than a hundred years now. As a manufacturing company it is there since 1947. So some people find it too old and stodgy and they want to give their latest cars the "latest" names - be it battery or engine oil or whatever. I can't blame them.
Yes you did..I think the correction came in while I was typing out my rather lengthy response.

You are right, Exide is a bit of stodgy old company and there is some anti incumbency at work here.

I wish they would introduce VRLA/AGM batteries here similar to Optima and Exide Orbital (Exide USA). The have they size and market reach to make it a possible success. Of course they will be priced higher compared to ordinary batteries & the pricing is critical in a price sensitive country like ours.

Optimas are reputed to last nearly 10 years in cooler climes, you could safely assume 5 years in our hot weather. AGMs are much safer to install and operate than wet cell batteries. I would certainly prefer a AGM to a normal battery and pay a small premium for the same.
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Old 18th June 2012, 11:56   #248
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

Most car owners keep their cars for five years at the most. A fraction of them are actually interested in the battery. Roughly speaking: the first battery lasts for two years. the second one he buys from the market and most probably it is an ATB and it lasts him for three years at least. The car gets sold and the second owner buys the cheapest possible battery.

Anything extra over and above this (in terms of battery life) it is a bonus. Anything less than this and Exide (or whoever) is a bad battery maker.

Also, there is a feeling that VRLA as a technology for car batteries is yet to prove itself (Matrix is, technically speaking, not a VRLA battery). Actually all battery related innovations are forced by the principal manufacturer of the vehicle. Battery makers will never launch a completely new technology on their own.

And it's an understatement that India is a price/value sensitive market. Here we spend Rs 40 lakh to buy a Merc and we buy the diesel version because the monthly fuel bill will be cheaper by a couple of thousand rupees. So unless the battery becomes a status symbol in the society it is pointless launching batteries that are super premium.

Slightly off topic: Exide's Inva Tubular 500 is a case in point. It is a status symbol now in large parts of India and people pay a premium to get it.
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Old 19th June 2012, 00:54   #249
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Most car owners keep their cars for five years at the most. A fraction of them are actually interested in the battery. Roughly speaking: the first battery lasts for two years.
I am not fond of any particular battery, nor do I have anything to say in defence of Exide batteries, yet for the sake of the facts I must admit that the OEM Exide battery which came with my car lasted for more than six good years!
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Old 23rd June 2012, 10:47   #250
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Roughly speaking: the first battery lasts for two years. the second one he buys from the market and most probably it is an ATB and it lasts him for three years at least. The car gets sold and the second owner buys the cheapest possible battery. .
That's a valid observation. The OEM battery in my lasted for about 2 years and I fitted an Exide Matrix that should last me at least 3 years if not more.

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Matrix is, technically speaking, not a VRLA battery). Actually all battery related innovations are forced by the principal manufacturer of the vehicle. Battery makers will never launch a completely new technology on their own. .
The Matrix is not a VRLA but a sealed wet battery with CA/CA chemistry instead of the normal SB/CA chemistry. As per specs, usage of water is supposed to be very low and it recondenses the water vapour to maintain water levels. Keeping the hype aside there are 2 issues that I see with the Matrix:

a) Inability to top off water as it is sealed. This is critical in a tropical country like India where we experience 45+ Cel in some places. As long as your alternator doesn't overcharge the battery you are good, that will lead to lower water loss.

b) If this battery dies due to water loss for whatever reason, there's not much you can do. It has to be replaced, period. Should this happen when far away from urban areas or Exide dealers it could get sticky

As for innovations, Exide is in a technical collaboration with Shin Kobe Japan and gets it's tech from them.

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So unless the battery becomes a status symbol in the society it is pointless launching batteries that are super premium. .
Car enthusiasts spend at least 20K on accessories, after market stereos, tinting windows and miscellaneous items after taking delivery. Some even choose to get the tyres replaced.

I have heard so many rants about why OEM batteries are bad - so here's a thought that I have shared before. If an owner truly believes that the car has been fitted with a sub standard battery, let him fork out the cash for a new one @ 3-6K a pop depending on the make and spec. I guess there won't be too many takers for spending on a battery.

Quote:
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Slightly off topic: Exide's Inva Tubular 500 is a case in point. It is a status symbol now in large parts of India and people pay a premium to get it.
An Exide tubular battery a status symbol? Wow! It can happen only in India.

Last edited by R2D2 : 23rd June 2012 at 10:48.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 19:29   #251
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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As for innovations, Exide is in a technical collaboration with Shin Kobe Japan and gets it's tech from them.
And also Furukawa (the Sonic range is Furukawa technology) and also East Penn of the US (as of last year). East Penn is not such a well known name in India but they are America's largest integrated single location battery manufacturer. Integrated meaning they do everything from lead smelting to finished battery in-house and in a single location in Pennsylvania. A very respected name in the US.

The points you mentioned about Matrix is the reason why I have never bought it. My first replacement was an ATB and the next one is Max.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 20:02   #252
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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And also Furukawa (the Sonic range is Furukawa technology) and also East Penn of the US (as of last year). East Penn is not such a well known name in India but they are America's largest integrated single location battery manufacturer. Integrated meaning they do everything from lead smelting to finished battery in-house and in a single location in Pennsylvania. A very respected name in the US.

The points you mentioned about Matrix is the reason why I have never bought it. My first replacement was an ATB and the next one is Max.
That's right the Furukawa collaboration was appropriated or came on board when they took over Standard Batteries. Their website mentions other collaborations as well, one in UK the other in Australia. For automotive use the main collaborations are Shin Kobe for Exide products and Furakawa for SF batteries.

Though I wanted to go in for an Amaron or Tata Green battery in 2010 but the particular model the car requires was not in stock or from old stock. Given that the car becomes unusable without a battery I went in for an Exide again - purchased from a trustworthy dealer my family and I have been buying batteries from for ~20 years.

So far the Matrix has held up well. The car's alternator maintains a float voltage of 13.2V just enough to maintain the battery @ 100% SOC without creating conditions for additional water loss. I hope this thing lasts me for at least another 2 years. I'll report in if there is any unusual behaviour in the months to come. Hopefully this battery will be a reliable option for future purchases.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 23:03   #253
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Their website mentions other collaborations as well, one in UK the other in Australia.
Exide had a collaboration with MSA for miner's cap lamps. It also had another marketing alliance with an Australian company for industrial batteries. Exide has exited both these businesses quite some time back. I am surprised that this information is still there on the website. If you could please let me know where you saw this (through a PM) I will ensure that dated information is deleted from the website.

If mods think this is off topic (I think it is) please feel free to remove it.
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Old 23rd June 2012, 23:20   #254
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team

Exide had a collaboration with MSA for miner's cap lamps. It also had another marketing alliance with an Australian company for industrial batteries. Exide has exited both these businesses quite some time back. I am surprised that this information is still there on the website. If you could please let me know where you saw this (through a PM) I will ensure that dated information is deleted from the website.

If mods think this is off topic (I think it is) please feel free to remove it.
I have sent you a PM with the link
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Old 26th July 2012, 21:19   #255
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Default Re: Oh No! Exide battery woes again

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Amaron Flo: 4 Year Warranty : Rs 3900
Replaced in exactly 4 years. Almost to the same day.

The battery had gone sluggish. Rather than waiting for a surprise death, replaced it.

Got an Amaron battery with 3 years warranty.

Cost me 3100 after a 5% discount on MRP and some 250 odd rupees for my old battery.

Bought battery with 3 year warranty as it will be replaced if it dies within 18 months.

I don't plan on retaining my car that long.
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