Are you ready for the age of the Li-ion?

With the sale of diesel- and gas-powered vehicles set to end in 2030, businesses should be looking to embrace modern technologies and upgrade fleets now so new operational and maintenance routines can be established long before these changes come into effect.

And we’re not just talking company cars here. While nine years may seem a long way off to some, early adopters moving from internal combustion engine (ICE) and lead-acid batteries to the latest Lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology for its lift trucks will also reap the rewards by lowering maintenance and fuel costs and reducing their carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

Nexen Lift Trucks is renowned for embracing the very latest materials handling technology and manufacturing lift trucks that innovate not imitate; and Li-ion batteries are available as an option across the company’s range of electric counterbalance fork trucks, warehouse reach trucks and pedestrian stackers.

From early on, Nexen embraced the benefits of Li-ion batteries, a technology that offers exceptional performance compared to lead acid alternatives and, by being more energy efficient and quicker to recharge, can reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for lift truck owners/operators.

For example, by harnessing Li-ion technology, Nexen’s electric-powered lift trucks now far-exceed the daily operational life of traditional lead-acid vehicles, with the latest warehouse equipment requiring just one battery that, with the correct shift pattern programmes in place, is capable of being used round-the-clock thanks to rapid charge cycles.

This reduction in the number of batteries required also negates the need for large charging facilities and storage areas, which has freed up space for additional warehousing and in turn further reduces TCO. What’s more, lift truck operators also become more productive because a Li-ion recharge can usually be accommodated during operator and shift breaks, with less time therefore spent switching spent lead-acid batteries out for recharged ones.

The latest Li-ion batteries are also maintenance-free, don’t require filling, gassing or ventilation and there are no pollutants escaping to atmosphere and harming the environment or your workforce. They are also more efficient to recharge, with an approximate 15% reduction in electricity costs required for recharging. Additionally, a Li-ion-powered lift truck can deliver an impressive 500%+ more cycles compared to lead acid. And that’s before battery degradation is considered!

It is therefore no wonder that, despite the cost disadvantage compared to other batteries, Li-ion power is becoming more important to those specifying lift trucks, especially in this recent pandemic-focussed world where online shopping and a need for 24/7, rapid warehousing techniques has increased exponentially.

Extensive research during Nexen’s design process ensures its warehousing solutions provide class-leading performance. For example, its Velox, Attollo and Aufero ranges of 3- and 4-wheel counterbalanced electric forklifts provide productive and energy-efficient solutions for numerous indoor/outdoor lifting applications. There’s also a range of electric pallet trucks and pedestrian pallet trucks with Li-ion batteries available as an option and lifting capabilities from 1,200 to 2,500kg; and its electric counterbalance forklifts also feature regenerative braking to enhance battery life and improve energy efficiency.

As Nexen’s Pamela Oakes explains, with warehouse owners/operators reviewing their environmental impact and carbon footprint, many are moving away from traditional applications and looking to Li-ion.

“The high-duty cycles associated with traditional ICE applications means electric vehicles have to provide similar levels of performance and productivity. With our vehicles being designed from the ground up, the technology is built-in to provide an unprecedented combination of performance, productivity and cost-effectiveness, without having to compromise on operator comfort and safety.” says Pamela.

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