Forklift Batteries- All You Need to Know
What Is an Electric Forklift?
The main feature of an electric forklift is its use of batteries as a fuel source rather than LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) or diesel. There is more than one option for a forklift battery, such as lithium-ion, nickel-metal-hydride and lead-acid batteries. The lead-acid-based battery is the most common forklift battery used in Australia due to its ease of use and 100% recyclability. This is the type of battery we use in our fleet of electric forklifts.
Over the last decade, improvements in forklift battery technology have greatly impacted the Australian forklift industry. Many businesses are starting to see the advantages of investing in electric power rather than combustion.
So what are the advantages of an electric forklift? One that has most business owners excited is the lower cost of operations. A study in Ohio, USA found that it cost an LPG forklift between $18 – $25 (USD) to run for an eight-hour shift, whereas it only costs $1.50 – $4.50 for an electric forklift. They also found that with quality maintenance, their electric forklifts had a generally longer lifecycle than their combustion-powered counterparts.
These machines are not only advantageous for reducing operating costs, but they also produce zero carbon emissions, making them a strong ethical choice for forward-thinking companies. It’s two birds with one stone, and if you are worried about power, don’t be. An electric forklift has just as much horsepower as a standard LPG/diesel forklift.
We understand these advantages can help with the success of your business which is why we offer the best electric forklifts for your day-to-day operations. Our products range from ‘Elevated Work Platform’ to an ‘Electric Pallet Truck’. Whatever your need, we have you covered.
How Long Does The Battery Last?
When we talk about lead-acid batteries, this type of forklift battery generally lasts between 1000-1500 cycles, depending on how well they are maintained.
A cycle is best explained as 8-10 hours of use (or one typical work shift) followed by eight hours of charge and an 8-hour cooldown period. So, in general, one cycle will cover a 24-hour period.
To put that into perspective, if your business has around 300 workdays per year and keeps the battery well maintained, then an electric forklift will last around five years.
Factors Affecting Battery Efficiency
Batteries degrade in higher temperatures, leading to a decrease in efficiency called ‘calendar ageing’. The reactive elements inside a battery occur at a faster rate, leading to wear-and-tear on the protective structure and an earlier battery death.
Working in high temperatures is nothing new in Australia, which is why it is important to store your electric forklifts in cool and sheltered locations. If you can, refrain from using electric forklifts on especially hot days to protect the battery’s lifecycle.
Over And Under Charging
Overcharging and undercharging your electric forklift can negatively affect the forklift battery and its efficiency.
If a worker leaves the forklift in a charging state significantly longer than the recommended amount, this is called overcharging, and corrosion in the battery plates can occur.
On the other hand, not letting the electric forklift charge for long enough leads to undercharging, which puts a strain on the battery’s cells and also leads to damage.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guide on the forklift battery, but in general, do not let the charge of the electric forklift battery drop below 20%. How long does it take to charge a forklift battery? Leave it charging for eight hours to reach 100% before then halting the process. It will then need a further eight hours to cool down before it can be used.
Regular Battery Equalising
Battery equalising is a process that is used to improve electric forklift battery efficiency. It is simple and effective to perform; all you need to do is to purposefully charge the battery at a higher voltage than normal during one full recharging cycle (eight hours).
This helps remove any build-up of sulphate residue in the battery and balances the voltage between cells.
How often should you equalise a forklift battery? Again, you should follow the instructions suggested by the battery manufacturer but most businesses equalise their batteries about once per week, usually over the weekend.
Incorrect Battery Watering
A lead-acid battery uses water as a vital part of its functions. If the forklift battery watering system is performed incorrectly, this can lead to irreparable damage.
Here is how to add water to your forklift lead-acid battery:
Make sure the forklift is switched off. Add water (distilled water only) using a funnel. Fill up to the mark point or 1cm below the fill well (do not overfill).
Ensure that you add the distilled water after the forklift has been fully charged. You need to add the water when the levels are running low, usually around every 5-10 charges.
Can Electric Forklifts Be Used In The Rain?
Yes, electric forklifts can be used in the rain. In Australia, any equipment or vehicle with an IPX4 rating or more is safe to use in wet conditions.
All of our electric forklifts have a rating of IPX4 or more and can be used safely in the rain.
To stay safe whilst operating an electric vehicle in the rain, it is important to obtain the proper training as well as wear visible clothing.
Get assistance with Forklift Battery Today
With these advantages, it is easy to see why so many businesses are switching to electric forklifts. But maintaining a forklift battery can be difficult, so we offer fully qualified technicians to assist in managing your electric forklifts, as well as regular repairs and services.