Lift Truck Tips: Fast-charging gains power

The prospect of cutting greenhouse gases, combined with technological advances, is making fast-charging more attractive

<p>Opportunity fast-charging and an 80-volt battery may give electric lift trucks more of the capacity and performance attributes of internal combustion trucks.</p>

Opportunity fast-charging and an 80-volt battery may give electric lift trucks more of the capacity and performance attributes of internal combustion trucks.

Latest News

State of Logistics 2016: Pursue mutual benefit
U.S.-NAFTA freight sees 10 percent annual decrease in July, reports BTS
AAR reports annual declines for week ending September 17
How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
How Mexico has emerged as the new nearshore destination
More News

Latest Resource

How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
Avoid quality program bureaucracy that can sap logistics productivity and increase costs
All Resources
By ·

Sometimes the most powerful mixtures are made from inert elements. Take fast-charging and 80-volt lift trucks, for example. Neither of those elements has been a potent force in U.S. markets. However, the need for better energy efficiency and more powerful performance may be the catalysts for combining them to form a new solution.

I’ve talked with several lift truck suppliers who either are or will be introducing 80-volt products into their lines. The demand for a more carbon-friendly alternative to internal combustion engine (IC) models is on the rise. For many IC stalwarts, the only thing keeping them from adding their voices to that demand is the idea of allocating the space and time to manage battery changing and charging. That’s where fast-charging delivers its potency.

John Aker, president and chief technology officer of Aker Wade Power Technologies (http://www.akerwade.com)), told me that with the larger 36- and 48-volt batteries most commonly used in the U.S., two SBX-350 cables are required to deliver more than 320 amps of fast-charging current. With an 80-volt battery you can use one cable connector because at 320 amps you can deliver more than 30 kW of fast-charge energy. Reducing the cost of the battery coupling and cabling may make fast-charging more attractive to a wider market.

And so may eliminating the need to change out batteries. Another factor keeping users in the United States away from 80-volt lift trucks is infrastructure. In Europe the 80-volt batteries are typically removed from above by crane—not with the side extraction methods used for 36- and 48-volt batteries.

According to Blake Dickinson, head of applications engineering and customer satisfaction for AeroVironment (http://www.avinc.com)), even if you invested in a crane system it would take more time to change a battery using a crane than with a side extraction system. “With opportunity fast-charging you eliminate the need for that,” he says.

Another element that could further sweeten the deal is the use of lithium-ion batteries. While lead acid will probably remain the battery of choice for one- and two-shift operations, Aker believes heavy-use three-shift operations will eventually be the tipping point for cost justifying lithium-ion batteries in lift trucks.

“Once lithium-ion batteries hit the $10,000 point for an 80-volt 500 kW hour capacity cell, it may replace lead acid,” he says. “At $10,000 you’re about twice the cost of lead acid, but the battery will charge much faster, so you’ll only need one. For three-shift operations it makes more sense than buying two lead acid batteries and swapping them out.”

Incentives from power providers may also help. That could start happening as more lift truck dealers partner with their local energy companies to meet with their customers to show the potential savings from not only switching from gas to electric, but from old style batteries to new style batteries and to opportunity fast-charging. Power company account managers may then even offer incentives.

Contact Tom Andel at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


About the Author

Tom Andel
Tom Andel is a Contributing Editor to Logistics Management.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
How Lean is your Lean Quality Program?
Avoid quality program bureaucracy that can sap logistics productivity and increase costs
Download Today!
From the September 2016 Issue
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and organizational structure—finds many companies waiting to commit to a strategic path. However, waiting too long will only result in a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to overcome in today’s fast-paced, global economy.
Time for Asia’s ports to rebuild
Is the freight recession upon us…again?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Supply Chain Best Practices: Visibility to In-Transit Inventory
During this webcast you'll learn on how various organizations have gained instant access to in-transit parcels and given access to this information to stakeholders.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...

Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....