Are you ready? Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) Forklifts Trucks are on the way!

Lithium Vs Lead-Acid

Lithium isn’t only reserved for cars! As Lithium costs are winding down, they are proving to be a reliable and cheaper source of power for Forklifts. With a major range of newly built trucks coming into play; Lithium is the next generation of batteries, typically holding up to three times the capacity of lead-acid batteries & last longer – much longer.
Just imagine it: a 3,000 charge life cycle, lightweight and maintenance free battery – meaning no more water or filling stations! The convenience is unimaginable; longer shift durations would lead to increased productivity due to the time saved on charging! Yep, you heard right – Lithium batteries have proficient charging rates, allowing an approximate 80% charge in forty-five minutes. This is of course super-fast when compared to the sluggish lead-acid battery, which could take up to 12–16 hours for sealed batteries & up to 36–48 hours for large stationary batteries.

So let us compare:
•    Li-Ion batteries have higher voltage over Lead Acid (3.7v vs 2.0v – almost 2x per cell!)
•    Compared to Led Acid, they have a greater Energy Density per unit of Weight (3x) and Volume (6x)
•    Lightweight provides more portability, less storage space, and could even eliminate storage boxes
•     Tolerates Higher Temp (140F vs 80F), no Air Conditioning required
•     More time between recharges (26 wks. vs continuous or max 2 wks.)
•    Higher turnaround charge efficiency (97% vs 75%)  and 2 x more discharge cycles

Unfortunately, everything has a downside:
•    Li-Ion volatility must be safely managed
•    Li-Ion Protection Circuitry is custom & expensive, whereas its Lead Acid counterpart is Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) & inexpensive.

In recent research, Navigant have concluded that Li-Ion costs remain a significant barrier in the expansion market. Still, lead-acid is a mature technology and so prices are likely to remain the same. This means that though current Li-ion batteries are approximately 3 times the cost of a lead-acid battery; prices for fuel cells, Li-ion batteries & fast chargers on the other hand are likely to fall.
Navigant recently released a report stating that lithium-ion battery costs may fall to $300 per kWh by 2015 and to $180 by 2020, making them a cheaper proposition than lead-acid batteries are today.
BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)—says: While lead acid batteries are well entrenched in the forklift market, they are not ideal for some operators because of their limited runtime, long charge time, and short life cycle. Over the next several years, advanced electric technologies, such as fuel cells, lithium ion batteries, and faster chargers will continue to gain a larger share of the forklift market in terms of revenue.
Li-ion batteries are steadily on the rise and will make a strong opponent for current lead-acid batteries in the years to come.

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