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Lithium Ion Forklift Batteries: What You Need to Know

by John Kenley on September 21, 2017
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lithium ion forklift batteries what you need to know In the material handling industry, speed and productivity matter. Running an efficient operation means higher margins and happy customers. But, during an average shift, how much productivity is lost because employees have to service batteries or wait for a piece of equipment to charge up?

Lithium-ion (L-I) batteries transformed the personal electronics industry, but haven’t had the same impact on industrial equipment - yet. Times are changing. A food and beverage distributor recently worked with Toyota to switch to an all lithium-ion forklift fleet. The results were impressive.

Why Use Lithium-ion Forklift Batteries?

lithium-ion-vs-lead-acid-forklift-batteries-comparison-chartSave money and space - Lithium batteries eliminate the need for spare batteries and charging rooms. Save time and money by eliminating time spent on watering, cleaning and equalizing forklift batteries.

Longer, more consistent performance - As lead-acid batteries discharge, their voltage drops. Meaning the longer they work, the slower they run.

Lithium-ion batteries store about three times more energy than a conventional battery, provide consistent voltage, and don’t slow down your machine as they discharge.

Safer for Employees and Better for the Environment - Lithium-ion lift truck batteries have a 4x longer life cycle, are 30% more energy-efficient, do not emit fumes or CO2, and there’s no risk of acid spills.

Fully-charged in as little as one hour - Lead-acid batteries need 8 hours to charge and another 8 hours to cool down. A lithium-ion forklift battery can fully charge in as little as an hour, or at the very least make more efficient use of opportunity charging during breaks - making lithium ion an ideal choice for multi-shift operations.

Lithium-ion Forklift Battery FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about lithium-ion batteries for forklifts.

Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Worth the Extra Cost?
The answer requires a bit of analysis. First, is your current charging system meeting the needs of your application? How much downtime does your operation experience? Also, what is the (labor) cost per month to maintain and charging batteries? The cost to maintain lead-acid batteries can really add up over the long term.

For multi-shift operations: lithium-ion batteries pay for themselves in just a few years. An average single-shift operation will find lithium-ion batteries pays for themselves in about five years, sometimes less. Keep in mind L-I batteries last up to four times longer so you’ll be buying batteries less often.

Can I Retrofit a Forklift to Use a Lithium Battery?
Yes! Switching to lithium-ion only requires installing the new battery and adding the charge meter.

What About Counterbalance?
The batteries (Green Cube) provide the ballast within their case, so they meet the required minimum battery weight spec.

For more information about lithium-ion batteries, contact one of our product experts online or by phone.

East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
Forklift Batteries: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (and then some)
Forklift Battery Types and Chargers
How to Improve the Battery Life of Your Electric Forklift 
Forklift Battery FAQs
Lithium-Ion Batteries: Where They Came From And Where They’re Headed
 

Forklift Battery Questions

 

Topics: Forklift Battery FAQs

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