Like all components on Cat® lift trucks, batteries are carefully chosen and specified for optimum compatibility with each individual truck and its application requirements. As a leader in forklift development, we are ready to adopt new component technologies as soon as they become genuinely cost-effective.
At present, the needs of most lift trucks are still met optimally by lead-acid batteries, but in some cases lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries now offer a realistic alternative. This is especially true in high-energy, multi-shift, 24/7 operations.
In view of the improved performance and affordability of today’s Li-ion batteries, we have introduced them as an option. They will be offered on particular trucks, whenever they make economic and practical sense for you and your business.
Will Li-ion work for you?
Li-ion batteries offer tremendous advantages over traditional lead-acid batteries. The big question is whether those benefits are sufficient – in your situation – to justify the large difference in purchase price. To answer this, you must consider their total cost of ownership (TCO). The key factors are summarised below.
Li-ion battery cost savings compared to lead-acid battery
These include savings on energy, equipment, labour and downtime.
- Longer life – 3 to 4 times lead-acid lifespan – reduces overall battery investment
- Higher efficiency – energy losses during charging and discharging are around 30% lower, so electricity consumption is reduced
- Longer runtime – thanks to higher energy capacity, lower losses and more efficient recovery of current from regenerative braking
- Consistently high performance – with a more constant voltage curve – maintains greater truck productivity, even toward the end of a shift
- Faster charging and opportunity charging – full charge within 1 to 2 hours – enables top-ups during short breaks, without damaging the battery or shortening its lifespan
- No battery changing – fast opportunity charges enable continuous operation with just one battery and minimise the need to buy, store and maintain spares
- No maintenance – the battery stays on board the truck for charging and there is no need for top-ups or electrolyte checks
- No gas – avoids the space, equipment and running costs of a battery room and ventilation system
- Inbuilt protection – intelligent battery management system (BMS) automatically prevents excessive discharge, charge, voltage and temperature, as well as virtually eliminating application errors
Li-ion extra costs compared to lead-acid
Li-ion battery purchase prices are higher – although they are coming down as production volumes increase. You may also need to invest in extra charging points and electrical infrastructure to support them.
Further advantages of Li-ion compared to lead-acid
Money should not be your only consideration. Li-ion batteries also have important safety and environmental benefits.
- Greater safety – no explosive gas, acid spills or regular battery lifting
- Smaller carbon footprint – better efficiency means less energy consumption, while longer life lowers the requirement for manufacture of additional batteries
Cat forklift trucks with Li-ion
You will find, below, a list of Cat lift trucks which can now be powered by Li-ion batteries.
The necessary LIBAT option can be built into new trucks or retrofitted to your existing fleet using a fast and easy conversion kit. LIBAT ensures perfect integration of the Li-ion battery and lift truck. Along with the necessary cabling and connections, it includes – where necessary – a battery discharge indicator (BDI) display and holder, a quick-charging hatch and a battery lock.
For extra peace of mind, our Li-ion batteries come with the option of a service contract, full warranty and feedback on battery status. Data collected by the battery’s inbuilt battery management system (BMS) is uploaded and analysed to help the dealer advise you on its condition and usage. The report may, for example, indicate a need for changes in your practices to improve efficiency and battery life.
Batteries and chargers with different capacities are available. Your dealer will identify the best combination for your needs.
Cat lift trucks with Li-ion battery options are as follows: