The Future of Lithium-ion Batteries for Forklifts | Battrixx
The Future of Lithium-ion Batteries for Forklifts | Battrixx

The Future of Lithium-ion Batteries for Forklifts

A wise man once said, that life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. So, while our focus in this blog is on the future of lithium-ion forklift batteries, we’ll first take a peek into its past, to understand the evolution of what powered forklifts and what brought us to where we are. This will set the right foundation to assess the future of lithium-ion batteries and gauge whether it’s all just hype, or whether it actually holds out hope for the future.

1917 was a memorable year when the first forklift was introduced to the world, enhancing efficiency. Initially they were powered by diesel or gasoline engines, but the dangerous emissions they generated within the confines of warehouses and factories, were a cause of concern to the health of those they were meant to help! This quickly spurred the transition to less polluting fuels like propane (LPG) and natural gas.

The great leap forward was the invention of electric power via rechargeable lead acid batteries which improved efficiency; created a healthier cleaner indoor working environment; and reduced costs of clean air systems necessitated by polluting fuels. There was also the introduction of GEL batteries but these did not take off as costs were high and they did not last as long as lead acid batteries. As the quest for more efficient powering systems continued, innovation presented lithium-ion batteries.

Today electricity powers over 75% of material handling equipment, with lead acid batteries being the undisputed leader. However, the transition to lithium-ion batteries has begun, albeit at a slow pace as there’s always initial reluctance for any change. There’s the classic example of smartphones, where initial reluctance to switch from feature phones was high, but today we cannot live without our smartphones!

So, let’s debate the pros and cons of lithium-ion forklift batteries to decide their future.

Lithium-ion Batteries – A Boon for Forklifts

It’s always good to begin on a positive note, so here we go, listing the pros of lithium-ion lift truck batteries.

1. Longer Lifespan

Lithium-ion forklift batteries have a lifespan of roughly 3000 cycles, which is substantially higher than lead acid batteries which come with a mere 500-1000 cycles. Furthermore, lithium-ion batteries have the added advantage of a cycle being calculated in ‘percentages of charge’ rather than the number of plugins. This means that 10% charge is 1/10 of a cycle for a lithium forklift battery, whereas a 10% charge counts as one full cycle for a lead acid battery. This dual advantage makes lithium-ion forklift batteries a winner on the lifespan front.

2. Opportunity Charging

Another area where a lithium-ion forklift battery scores better, is that it supports ‘Opportunity Charging’ where the battery can be charged for shorter periods of time, multiple times a day, without negatively impacting the battery chemistry. Lead acid batteries, on the other hand, require a full charge of 8 to 12 hours to maintain the right battery chemistry, which means that the forklift is forced to lie idle during the long charging period; if the charging cannot be planned during non-working hours.

3. Quick Charging

Lithium-ion batteries have a higher efficiency than their lead acid counterparts and hence can be charged faster. The average time for a lithium-ion battery to charge is 2 to 3 hours, although there is also a quick charge facility of an hour for urgent charging. There’s also the facility of opportunity charging for short periods without going to full charge. As opposed to this, lead acid batteries take minimum 8 hours and must be charged up-to full charge each time. Furthermore, lithium-ion batteries do not need to cool down and hence they are ready to work faster than lead acid batteries. Thus lithium-ion batteries save immense time which gives them a significant edge over lead acid batteries as far as charging goes.

4. Higher Forklift Productivity

Lithium-Ion batteries improve forklift productivity on three counts. Firstly, they produce less heat than lead acid batteries and also enhance the ability to ensure stable voltage irrespective of their charge level. This boosts forklift efficiency by up-to 30%. Secondly, as seen earlier, the opportunity charge facility makes charging possible in the forklift’s free time, thus reducing forklift downtime and enhancing productivity. Thirdly, the substantially lower charging time of lithium-ion batteries is a time saver – increasing forklift availability and in turn, productivity.

5. Lighter Weight

Lithium-ion forklift batteries are comparatively smaller in size and around 1/3 the weight of lead acid batteries. This size and weight advantage positively contribute to forklift performance and also provide better legroom for the forklift operator.

6. Higher Energy Density

Lithium-ion batteries have high energy density, which makes possible more energy storage per unit, than other batteries of the same size. The higher the level of energy the battery can hold, the better and more lasting its performance. While lead acid batteries hold between 50 and 100 wh/kg; lithium-ion batteries can store between 260 and 270 wh/kg – a significantly higher energy density indeed!

7. High Efficiency

On the efficiency charts, lithium-ion batteries score a good 95%, whereas lead acid batteries are way behind at 80 to 85%. This score is important as it indicates the amount of energy that is actually available for use. Higher energy efficiency results in higher productivity, lower costs, low emissions, consistent power supply, and longer usage time.

8. Maintenance-free

Maintenance is also a factor that affects time, effort, infrastructure needs, and of course money. Here too lithium-ion batteries are a notch above the others, as they don’t require any time-consuming or costly maintenance, unlike lead acid batteries that need frequent watering, equalisation charging, and cleaning – for ensuring a good lifespan.

9. Eco-friendly

Lithium-ion forklift batteries are definitely more eco-friendly than depleting fossil fuels that are high on polluting emissions. Lithium-ion is also a comparatively greener fuel than lead acid batteries, as it eliminates the risk of acid spills and the use of lead which is a toxic heavy metal. These facts make lithium-ion batteries a safer option for the environment, as well as for the health of forklift operators, and warehouse and factory staff.

10. Temperature Tolerant

Lithium-ion batteries are relatively more adaptive to extreme temperatures, than their counterparts and are therefore more dependable and better suited for forklifts that need to be used in unfavourable temperatures. This makes them the ideal forklift batteries for cold storage facilities; as well as facilities where, hot temperatures are unavoidable. However, a word of caution here: Ensure that good quality appropriately certified lithium-ion batteries are used in such cases.

Cons of Lithium-ion Forklift Batteries

The opponents of lithium-ion batteries may argue that they are more expensive; that repairs are challenging; that recyclability options are low; and that they too depend on natural resources. Let’s understand the merits of each of these arguments.

The fact is that the cost of these batteries is decreasing because of technological advances. According to Bloomberg, a kilowatt-hour of battery electricity, which in 2010 cost more than USD 1100, came down to merely USD 156, and is predicted to be about USD 100 by the end of 2023. Furthermore, it must be noted that lithium-ion batteries are three times more efficient than lead acid batteries and have a longer lifespan too – partially compensating for the price.

While it is true that repairs may pose a challenge because of the advanced technology and safety standards of lithium-ion batteries, the fact is that the advanced technology also makes them robust and hence they rarely malfunction.

Where recycling is concerned, recycling programs are being developed and battery manufacturers are looking at ways to give their batteries a second and third life. On the natural resources front, lithium is not an endangered natural resource like fossil fuels, nor toxic like lead. The feather in lithium-ion’s cap is that it does not pollute the environment and hence lithium-ion batteries are a comparatively greener option.

All-in-all the pros of lithium-ion batteries, far outweigh the cons. Electric powering options have presented the material handling industry with forklifts that eliminate noise and environment pollution; require minimal maintenance; and have lower operating costs. Furthermore, with increasing importance being given to sustainability, worker safety, and environmental protection, it is incumbent for responsible organizations to do their part for the good of the planet that sustains us. It is therefore expected that lithium-ion batteries will increasingly power forklifts in the future and along-side this increase, recyclability option too will be developed sooner than later.

While lead acid batteries still dominate sales, it is expected that in time lithium-ion batteries will increasingly climb the lift truck sales charts. The reason is that the cost-benefit analysis for heavy use customers has begun to tilt the scales in favour of lithium-ion batteries. This is the reason why the global lithium-ion battery market is forecasted to grow by a CAGR of 4.6%, to reach $121.77 billion by 2026. It is also estimated that 20-30% of the annual electric forklift sales will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, in the near horizon.

If you are looking for a reliable lithium-ion battery partner to power your electric lift trucks, Battrixx is sure to provide you with a complete solution. Efficiency is the key when it comes to material handling equipment, and this is enhanced by long operating time and less charging time. Our forklift battery packs are designed to provide the highest peak capacity, longest cycle life, and greatest reliability for use in forklift applications. You get the advantage of unmatched reliability, high durability, better stability, better performance, and safety, along-with value for your money.

Browse through our website to explore our range of green, clean, energy systems that power the full range of Electric Vehicles, Golf Carts, Forklifts, Marine Batteries, Portable Devices, UPS, Telecommunication and more… Our lithium-ion battery packs are carefully crafted using advanced Battery Management Systems, and can be customized to meet your needs whether they are scalability of capacity and voltage, or matching your constraints of space, range and budget – all this without any compromise on safety or performance.

Battrixx truly offers ‘Intelligent Batteries’ that are packed with smart technology, making them intelligent enough to communicate. Our batteries come embedded with CAN communication technology that allows display, detection and storage of information like drive cycle current, voltage, temperature, fault diagnostics, etc. – vital data that holds a world of game-changing information for end-users as well as manufacturers.

  • e-bike battery
  • e bike battery price
  • e bike battery price in india
  • lithium ion battery for bike
  • lithium ion battery for electric scooter
  • lithium ion battery for bicycle
  • lithium ion battery for electric bike
  • lithium ion battery for bike price in india
  • lithium ion battery for two wheeler
  • lithium ion battery for 2 wheeler
  • lithium ion battery manufacturers in india
  • lithium ion battery manufacturers