Late year we told you that lithium-ion battery technology was now available for a key range of Toyota warehouse trucks and electric counterbalance forklifts. We thought we would take the opportunity to tell you what Li-ion is and how it could benefit your operation.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that lithium-ion technology is not suitable for every application and can be of the greatest benefit in multi-shift operations where trucks are running for extended periods and breaks allow for adequate recharge periods. This is due to the higher power efficiency of Li-ion batteries over that of a standard lead acid battery. Lead acid or gel batteries, which are traditionally used, need a recharging period of between 6 and 12 hours, which limits the possibility for continuous use. Multi-shift operations will generally adopt the battery exchange method to overcome this; however, this can be costly. Li-ion batteries have the ability to be recharged in as little as 1 hour, using up to 30% less energy to recharge, improving overall truck availability.
As these batteries allow for opportunity charging, battery change may no longer be needed, and neither are spare batteries or charging rooms. Due to strategic placement of the chargers, trucks can be recharged quickly by the operator during breaks or any periods of downtime. The key to operating this way is relocating chargers to convenient areas (IE near canteens) to promote a new culture. Obviously, however, this may incur infrastructure costs that need to be investigated and considered.
Other benefits of using Lithium-ion based truck technology over conventional lead acid powered trucks are:
Energy efficiency – Lithium-ion batteries have proven to be 30% more energy efficient than lead acid batteries, significantly reducing CO2 emissions which in combination with a lifecycle that is 4 times longer is hugely environmentally friendly.
Return on investment – By taking out the need for battery changes, operations can run more efficiently and costs can be saved in the long term.
Li-ion batteries have a higher initial investment than conventional lead-acid batteries. However, the productivity benefits and the long term saving on costs in multi-shift applications can outweigh the higher investment in this technology.
Contact our Sales Department for more information.