If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering switching your fleet of forklifts and hand jacks to Lithium-Ion batteries. Or you might be in the market for new batteries and are looking for guidance on which Li-Ion technology to purchase. If switching from older lead-acid technology, you’re making a sound business decision on several levels. It doesn’t matter if you have a single forklift working a single shift, or a large fleet working multiple shifts, upgrading to Li-Ion batteries offers you many benefits over lead-acid. Here are just a few highlights to consider before we go myth-busting on needed Li-Ion charging times. In no particular order:
- Li-Ion batteries give you more consistent, stable power when in use. Unlike lead-acid types, the voltage level and power availability remain at a higher, more even level. Lead-acid technology loses both voltage level and power in a downward curve, from the time you plug in the battery to the final job. This can be particularly important in cold storage or freezer applications. Cold is the sworn enemy of lead-acid batteries. You will lose between 30-50% of available capacity in cold or freezing applications with lead-acid.
- Li-Ion batteries are virtually maintenance-free. Lead-acid batteries need to be cleaned, watered and equalized on a regular basis. Li-Ion batteries don’t need these operations. And there’s no crusty caustic build-up to remove.
- Li-Ion batteries are designed for opportunity charging. In other words, you can plug them into a charger anytime the forklift isn’t in use. This saves time by eliminating the need for labor-intensive battery swaps.
- Of course, because they can be opportunity charged, you eliminate the need and expense for additional batteries, normally at least one per forklift. In some cases, this may even allow you to cut down on the number of lifts needed for your operation. Not to mention the related battery handling equipment required for lead-acid.
- Along with opportunity charging capability, Li-Ion batteries have much faster charging times than their older, lead-acid batteries counterparts.