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Everything You Need To Know About Forklift Batteries

AUTHOR: Tom Haug October 9, 2019

Everything You Need To Know About Forklift Batteries


There are many advantages to examining the many models of electric forklifts for sale and adopting one into your material handling fleet. To start, electric powered equipment is ideal for indoor warehouse environments because they do not produce any fumes. This makes transporting perishable items, such as food, possible. The low maintenance requirements for electric forklifts is an additional benefit because it is not nearly as laborsome as IC combustion forklifts. There is no need for engine oil, anti-freeze, and oxygen sensors to operate the machine. These electric forklifts rely heavily on their strong batteries and it is the single most crucial element to the operation of the lift; without them, the forklift would not function.

There are many decision factors in the process of selecting between different forklifts for sale, specifically for the battery of the machine. The battery should be taken into consideration before singling out the one that will best fit your operational and financial needs. When looking through the different electric forklifts for sale and determining your ideal model, you will need to choose the type of battery, charger, and the proper maintenance of the battery for your forklift.

We have broken down the key components of the two most common battery types: lithium ion and lead acid batteries. Once you have honed in on the type of battery that will best support your material handling applications, you should consider the proper maintenance and charging schedule for your battery.

Lithium Ion vs. Lead Acid Battery

There is a lot of discussion surrounding the decision between paying more for the lithium ion or choosing the cheaper option, the lead battery. Lithium ion batteries can cost over twice the amount compared to lead acid batteries. Although there is a higher price, lithium ion batteries have many advantages that can give your material handling operations a competitive edge by reducing overall labor costs.

Lithium Ion Battery

The lithium ion battery for your electric forklift can be a game changer to your warehouse, especially if you operate in a freezer storage environment. This battery can be charged quickly in cold temperatures and preserve the charge and power while working in both cold and warm climates. Furthermore, the battery has a long battery life compared to the time it takes to charge. Lithium ion batteries can be fully charged in one to two hours.

Lead acid batteries take about eight to ten hours to fully charge. Both lithium ion and lead batteries have the same runtime after they are fully charged. Electric forklifts that are equipped with lithium ion batteries only require one physical battery to function, whereas forklifts that rely on lead batteries typically require two lead acid batteries.

Lithium ion batteries should enable you to experience a reduction in your monthly energy bill. The battery is generally 30% more energy-efficient compared to the lead acid counterpart due to a higher energy density within the battery itself. Not only is the overall system more efficient, but the lifespan is additionally two to four times longer with extended run times and no decline of performance when it is accurately charged. Another aspect of charging the battery is that for the lithium ion version, there is no need to set aside room in your warehouse for a charging station. In contrast, the lead acid design requires the use of a charging room where the battery is to be charged and cooled before use.

Lead Acid Battery

Today, lead acid batteries are still the most popular battery option for electric forklift trucks. The lithium ion battery was introduced in 2015 and is still fairly new so there has been fairly limited adoption into electric forklifts. Supply of lithium is limited and will become increasingly sparse in the future. On the other hand, lead acid batteries are made from recycled origins and are continuing to evolve technologically and are becoming progressively more efficient and eco-friendlier.

The lead acid battery requires more routine maintenance, specifically in terms of watering and sustaining electrolyte balance at a safe level. Depending on how much you use your forklift, making sure you do not under or overwater the battery is key to preserving the lifespan of the battery. The lithium ion battery does not carry electrolytes or acid and nearly eliminates any maintenance concerns.

Proper Battery Care

For both the lithium ion and lead acid forklift batteries, it is important to match the voltage size of the battery to the voltage of the charger. This will maintain the lifespan of the charger and will ensure the proper charge and subsequent functioning of your electric forklift. If the battery is not charged properly, or if it does not have enough charge at the beginning of a shift to make it productive until the end of the shift, you will not be able to meet the demands of your production schedule. To save yourself from headaches in the future, you should purchase the forklift battery and its charger from the same manufacturer. It will make your technical support journey much easier if they the battery and the charger are from the same manufacturer.

General Charging Schedule

Typically, it is best to wait until the charge is under 30% to recharge it; charging the battery too frequently will seriously shorten the battery life. Similarly, once you have started charging the batteries, you should wait until the battery is completely charged to 100% before use. Purchasing a battery for your electric forklift that has an auto start and auto stop feature will stop the charging process when it is fully complete, saving you the task from stopping it at the precise moment it has finished charging.

As an industry leading provider of electric forklifts, we provide an extensive inventory of electric forklifts for lease and sale, such as Raymond reach trucks, Yale order pickers, and Toyota forklifts. If you’re browsing for an electric forklift for sale, the material handling experts at Meridian Leasing will walk alongside you to help determine the right forklift for your needs. Call us at 888-255-5320 or send an email to sales@meridianleasing.com for more details or to talk to an equipment specialist.

Tom Haug

Tom Haug
Director
Meridian Leasing

Meridian SELECT Certified Refurbished Equipment comes with the confidence of knowing that you don't have to sacrifice quality and performance for price.

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