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Is a Lithium Ion Forklift Battery Worth the Extra Expense?

3,134 Published by BSLBATT Apr 28,2019

The advantages of Lithium-ion batteries for your electric forklifts

At present, it is not only in the automotive world that there are signs of a change to electro-mobility. The material-handling equipment industry has long been a pioneer in this field. For some time now, there has been increasing demand for electric forklifts instead of IC engine-powered trucks. The challenge: to ensure the same high vehicle availability as with trucks powered by internal combustion engines. This is where lithium-ion technology comes into play.

In the material handling industry, productivity and efficiency are two important keys to success. There are only so many hours in the day, so whenever a company can find a way to do more in less time, they gain a competitive advantage. For some operations, especially food processing, 3PL, and other multi-shift applications, the LIFePO4 forklift battery provides that extra edge by reducing labor costs and improving productivity.

lithium_ion_forklift_battery

In this article, we’ll answer common questions about LIFePO4 forklift batteries including:

Q: What Applications Benefit Most from Lithium-Ion?

Multi-shift applications such as 3PL, manufacturing, and food processing) and any other 24/7 material handling operations benefit most from switching to lithium-ion. For these operations, li-ion batteries can pay for themselves within a few years.

Operations, where forklifts operate in cold environments, can also quickly benefit from switching to lithium-ion. lithium-ion forklift batteries can be fast-charged in cold temperatures (even inside freezers) and maintain their capacity in cold temps better than their lead-acid counterparts.

Ideal for all applications

The use of lithium-ion batteries is suitable for all applications. However, their advantages are particularly useful for intensive applications such as multi-shift operation and refrigerated storage.

Due to the elimination of emissions and possible impurities in lead-acid batteries, the technology is also particularly suitable for use in sensitive work areas such as the pharmaceutical or food industry.

For companies looking for an alternative to their internal combustion forklift fleet, lithium-ion batteries are an environmentally friendly option. This eliminates the need for retrofitting combustion vehicles with particle filters, as announced or already implemented in many countries.

LiFePO4 batteries from BSLBATT® for forklift trucks and warehouse equipment improve operation and handling. They increase the availability of vehicles and make operations more economical, safer, and at the same time more sustainable. Many users appreciate the practical advantages of everyday work.

forklift lithium battery

Q: How much does a LiFePO4 forklift battery cost?

The average price for a LiFePO4 forklift battery is roughly $17-20k (about 2-2.5x more than a similar lead-acid battery). For that higher upfront price, an operation will save money on:

Energy bills: LiFePO4 batteries are 30% more energy-efficient and charge 8x faster than lead-acid batteries

Batteries: your LiFePO4 battery will last 2-4x longer than a lead acid battery

Downtime: LiFePO4 batteries never need to be swapped out and can be opportunity-charged during operator breaks

Labor costs: LiFePO4 forklift batteries do not require maintenance or watering

Productivity: enjoy longer run times and no decline in performance as the battery discharges

Hazards: li-ion batteries don’t emit harmful fumes or CO2, there’s no risk of acid spills, and you’ll have 70-80 percent fewer batteries to dispose of over time because you won’t be replacing batteries as often.

Real estate: reclaim the area you’re using as a charging room for additional storage

Q: How long does a lithium-ion battery take to charge?

A: Li-ion batteries can charge throughout the day in 15 or 30 min spurts, or fully charge during a one to two-hour continuous session. Compare this to the eight-hour charge time plus an additional eight-hour cool-down time for a lead-acid battery.

Q: How much runtime will I get from a lithium-ion battery?

As with lead-acid batteries, the runtime depends on the application (how much lifting, how much uphill travel). Generally speaking, a lithium-ion battery will last as long as a lead-acid battery – but it charges faster and does not cause a decline in performance as it discharges.

Q: Can a forklift be retrofitted to use a Lithium-ion battery?

Yes! Conversion is quick and easy. The retrofit simply requires installing the new battery and adding the charge meter.

Q: What about counterbalance?

Ballast is included within the lithium-ion battery case so it meets the required minimum battery weight spec.

Q: What Applications Benefit Most from Lithium-ion Forklift Batteries?

Cold Storage/Freezer Applications – lead-acid batteries can’t handle the cold. Capacity can decrease up to 35 percent. Lithium-ion forklift batteries maintain their capacity in cold temps much better than lead-acid and can be fast-charged in cold temps, even inside freezers.

Multi-Shift Applications – Stop swapping and start saving. Multi-shift operations are the businesses that benefit most from lithium-ion batteries. We have customers who run their operation 24/7 with just one lithium-ion battery per truck. Their only complaint is: we should have switched sooner.

Tight margins – When you switch to lithium-ion forklift batteries, you’ll immediately reduce energy bills, reclaim real estate and improve productivity. Lithium-ion forklift batteries are 40 percent more energy efficient than lead-acid, and (in case you were wondering) 88 percent more efficient than diesel.

An increasing number of operations have done the math and come to the conclusion that lead-acid forklift batteries, though cheaper upfront, are more expensive to own. Lower energy bills and increased productivity are just two of the many money-saving reasons to switch to lithium-ion

– For multi-shift operations: lithium-ion batteries pay for themselves in just a few years.

– For single-shift operations, lithium-ion batteries typically pay for themselves in five years or less.

Converting your existing electric forklift(s) to lithium-ion batteries is easy. The retro-fit simply requires installing the new battery and adding the charge meter. 

State-of-the-art energy systems are not only highly efficient, they also protect both people and the environment. BSLBATT’s LiFePO4 batteries meet all sustainability requirements. For example, their operation is completely emission-free.

 

Even though lithium-ion batteries cost more upfront, they can quickly pay for themselves through reduced operating costs – offering some businesses a long-term competitive advantage. For more information about whether making the switch to lithium-ion might be a smart investment for your operation, contact one of our forklift battery experts online or by phone.

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