Are you considering converting your forklift fleet to an electric drive? Then lithium-ion technology could be a solution for you. In this blog post, we give you answers to the fifteen most frequently asked questions about lithium-ion batteries in forklifts.
1. What is the difference to an ordinary battery?
Due to the high energy density of a lithium-ion battery, it stores more energy per kilogram than a lead-acid battery, for example, and therefore requires less space. It also has a shorter charging time and can be quickly charged several times in between, making lithium-ion technology perfect for use throughout the day. The efficiency of a Li-ion battery is very high and can save up to 30% energy compared to a lead-acid battery. A lithium-ion battery electronically monitors charging and discharging - this also results in a very long service life, which we even guarantee.
2. What is the lithium-ion battery made of?
Contrary to what the name might suggest, lithium-ion batteries consist of only two percent lithium. A lithium-ion cell always consists of an electrolyte, an anode and a cathode. This consists of lithium metal oxide, which can contain cobalt, nickel and manganese.
3. How long can a lithium-ion battery work?
The Li-ion battery is suitable for 24-hour use, provided it is briefly charged at regular intervals - for example during the lunch break. The battery can be charged with a high charging current and fully charged within one to one and a half hours (depending on the battery size).
4. Is it true that a lithium-ion battery easily overheats and catches fire?
No, a Li-ion battery that uses LiFePO4 chemistry will experience thermal runaway (catch fire) at 518°F degrees. The BSLBATT battery management system will shut down the battery if it reached 150°F degrees. our lithium-ion batteries are equipped with an integrated battery management system (BMS). This monitors temperature and current and prevents the battery from overheating or critical states arise. In the event of the slightest irregularity, an error code is shown on the truck's display and, if necessary, the power is automatically switched off.
5. How do I charge a lithium-ion battery?
Charging is very intuitive via the lithium-ion charger with a specially developed safe charging plug. It is easy to use and eliminates operating errors. Unlike lead-acid batteries, there is no risk of gas leakage.
6. Are Li-ion batteries safe for a lift truck?
BSLBATT Li-ion batteries fully match trucks’ specs and are safer for the truck than lead-acid batteries on different levels:
● No voltage drop during the normal discharge cycle, which can damage truck parts
● Single battery operation means the battery stays in the compartment and eliminates daily shift changes
● Li-on cells are a closed system, so no sulfating of the compartment and surrounding areas on the truck (no acid spills)
● No gassing occurs while charging, so there’s no hydrogen to worry about
● This is true whether or not a particular OEM approves of lithium-ion battery use in their vehicles. An OEM will always want to test and formally approve the technology for use in their equipment. However, it is now widely accepted now that a Li-ion power source is overall much better than lead-acid for use in many different types of off-road equipment.
7. Do I need a special charging area for a lithium-ion battery?
No, since no dangerous gases are released, you can easily charge the battery anywhere. In contrast to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not require a charging space with a special extraction system.
8. How long does a lithium-ion battery last?
A lithium-ion battery lasts up to 5,000 charges, while the lead-acid battery lasts about 1,500 charges. This higher expected lifetime significantly reduces the total cost of ownership.
9. Do I need to service the lithium-ion battery?
No, the Li-ion battery is maintenance-free. Stopping your trucks to charge or check the batteries and other types of maintenance are a thing of the past. This allows you to enjoy maximum uptime and productivity from your truck.
10. Is it OK to fully discharge a Li-ion battery?
Yes, but we don’t recommend it. The cells perform better and will last longer with lower depths of discharge, which is why we recommend opportunity charging.
11. Are lithium ion batteries more expensive than regular batteries?
Although the Li-ion batteries are more expensive to buy, the price difference to a lead-acid battery is not very big. In addition, there is no need to invest in additional replacement batteries or special loading spaces. Thanks to all of the above benefits, lithium-ion batteries pay for themselves quickly!
12. Do Li-ion batteries weigh the same as lead acid batteries?
Individual Li-ion cells are much lighter and ballast is added to the battery case to match the correct weight needed for the truck to work properly. BSLBATT makes custom batteries to match the specs listed on the manufacturers’ data plate of each lift. The final weight can be adjusted to accommodate the use of certain lift truck attachments (paper roll clamp, carton clamp, bale clamp, etc.).
13. How do you recycle a Li-ion battery?
Currently, BSLBATT has a program in place that will accept the battery, disassemble its components, and recycle the metals and electronics. Spent cells will be sent back to the manufacturer for recycling or re-purposing, with the appropriate documentation delivered to the end-user to prove proper disposal.
14. How long can a Li-ion battery stay inactive / be stored and still function normally when required?
Usually, 9–12 months, stored with the battery fully charged, then turned off during the storage period. We also recommend that you put the battery on charge at least once every 3 months during the storage period. This feature is especially good for seasonal businesses or rental fleets.