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Growing lithium trend threatens to usurp lead-acid

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:09 -- Paul Crompton
Growing lithium trend threatens to usurp lead-acid

Finnish-based cargo-handler Kalmar has joined a growing number of firms replacing lead-acid batteries in forklift trucks with lithium-ion.

The firm’s new range of 5-9-ton lithium powered electric forklift trucks is just the latest in a long line of manufacturers ton have swapped chemistries.

Kalmar, part of global cargo-handling giant Cargotec, has traditionally made a range of forklift trucks with lead-acid batteries.

The firm’s announcement follows US-based Flux Power starting sales of the first UL approval lithium battery packs for Class III pallet jack forklifts.

In September, energy provider Navitas Systems announced it had developed a range of deep-cycle lithium batteries for Class I and Class II forklift trucks after winning a contract to supply an unnamed OEM the year before.

Yet lead-acid batteries still power 75-85% of the electric forklifts manufactured globally, according to a market research report by TechNavio, which also stated that advanced charging technologies could bring up the efficiency to 90%.

In another report, Technvio forecasts 8% CAGR growth in the market for lead-acid batteries for forklift truck applications up to 2020.