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Li-ion to take the lion’s share of battery electric forklifts

Battery electric forklifts have been with us for many decades, and lead acid battery technology has served the materials handling industry well for all this time. After all, it is cheap, simple, and with lead’s contribution, weighty as well, not necessarily a drawback when it comes to forklifts.

Its disadvantages, however, are also weighty, including low energy density, high maintenance and relatively short working life.

There have been many other technologies developed, but none made it into materials handling applications in a big way. Lithium ion, however, is being more and more widely adopted, and is on course to become ‘the next big thing’ in forklift technology.
Electric reach trucks may well soon be powered by LiFePO4 batteries.

Electric reach trucks may well soon be powered by LiFePO4 batteries.

Whilst Li-ion has been around in a small format since 1991 (introduced in Sony laptops), for a long time it remained a source of power for small-factor devices, and not until the automotive world started taking an interest in the technology did Li-ion gain serious consideration as a replacement for lead-acid batteries in forklifts.
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