Electric Battery Powered Reach Truck

The Choice Between Lithium Electric Power and Lead-Acid Power

Jan 10, 2024

Before power lithium batteries were widely used, lead-acid batteries had always been the main source of power for industrial vehicles, especially electric counterbalance forklifts, from small electric pallet trucks to heavy-duty electric tow tractors. With the rapid development of new energy battery technology and the decreasing cost of power lithium batteries, the sales and ownership of electric forklifts continue to increase, and the battery market they are equipped with is also quietly changing. With the market orientation of national policy tilt, energy conservation and environmental protection, and the continuous strengthening of environmental awareness, it is an inevitable trend that lithium batteries will gradually replace lead-acid in the future.


Nowadays, lithium batteries have been completely integrated into our lives. Lithium batteries are used in our commonly used mobile phones, electric vehicles, and power banks. Due to different applications, the requirements for lithium batteries are also very different, so there are many types of lithium batteries. Things like performance, durability, life cycle time and cost all depend on which battery chemistry and battery type is used. Generally speaking, forklift manufacturers will custom purchase or specially develop corresponding lithium batteries to provide maximum safety and integration while maintaining the overall quality and reliability of the forklift.



What are the benefits of choosing lithium batteries for electric forklifts:

1. Longer service life: Forklift lithium batteries have a long service life. With the further development of lithium-ion battery technology, the battery life can reach approximately 3,000 capacity cycles, which is a great advantage compared to the approximately 1,000+ charge cycles of traditional lead-acid batteries. In most applications, one lithium-ion battery has the same lifespan as three to four lead-acid batteries. In addition, the service life of traditional lead-acid batteries will also be affected by post-maintenance. Leaking, not properly cleaning and charging or balancing lead-acid batteries will greatly reduce their service life.

2. More convenient maintenance: No need for maintenance is a major advantage of lithium-ion batteries, which can reduce labor costs and increase productivity. In order to keep the battery healthy, traditional lead-acid batteries basically require weekly maintenance. Lead-acid batteries are very labor-intensive and if not properly maintained, their lifespan will be greatly shortened. This is not the case with lithium-ion forklift batteries, which require little routine maintenance other than checking cables and connectors and wiping away dust. 

3. Fast charging is more convenient: A major advantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they are designed with ease of use in mind, especially when it comes to fast charging. Whenever possible, they can simply be plugged in, even if it's just for a dozen minutes. It can provide longer-term charging capability. Even if it cannot be fully charged, it can be stopped and charged again during the idle period after the work is completed.

4. Better safety: Forklift lithium batteries require less maintenance and are therefore a safer choice. The battery is completely sealed and is very stable at ordinary times. So there are no problems with corrosion, vulcanization, acid spills or contamination, which is also good for the environment. The BMS system can communicate with the forklift and send information about the battery status, such as discharge level, which is visible on the standard forklift display. If anything goes wrong, an error code will be displayed and in the worst case the battery will automatically shut down the forklift in a safe manner. To provide maximum security, performance and reliability.

5. Higher efficiency and lower cost: Lithium-ion forklifts can be charged quickly, and the 1-3 hour fast charging mode is suitable for multi-shift operations. Instant charging and use eliminates the time and safety risks of battery replacement, and is more powerful. Another advantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they provide a constant high power supply that does not drop as the battery is discharged, and the power output can completely replace the internal combustion forklift. Lead-acid batteries usually require 7-10 hours of charging without interruption. In this way, the working efficiency is naturally not as good as that of lithium batteries. In addition, maintenance time and labor, as well as replacement costs, these costs add up in the long term. Electric forklifts choose lithium. Ion batteries are indeed a very good investment.



It is not difficult to see from the above comparison that there are many advantages to using lithium-ion batteries in electric forklifts. However, there are a few disadvantages worth noting when considering lithium-ion batteries. The initial investment in high-performance lithium batteries is greater compared to traditional batteries, however, if proper ROI calculations are in hand, in most cases the total operating costs prove to be lower. In addition, most lead-acid batteries can be recycled when they reach the end of their useful life and have recycling value. The recycling of lithium batteries is somewhat difficult. In the future, the recycling and processing of lithium batteries will also be a problem that needs to be solved for battery manufacturers!

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