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Higher acquisition cost concern over lithium-ion

11 January 2019

Research into lithium-ion battery technology for MHE found 66% of respondents consider the higher initial acquisition costs to be the biggest disadvantage of the technology.

This is according to research commissioned by manufacturer of intralogistics and material handling equipment Jungheinrich. The manufacturer produced a white paper from the research - Lithium-ion - Gaining Momentum.

Countering the concern around higher acquisition costs, it read: “The lower operating costs associated with Lithium batteries provide a pay back over the truck’s operating life, a fact that increasingly resonates with decision makers. Well over a third (38%) of respondents cited the importance of lower maintenance costs and 33% say the life time cost of ownership of electric trucks is making them more attractive.”

Researchers followed up by asking how quickly respondents would need to start seeing savings before they considered buying lithium-ion?

49% said they would need to start seeing savings between 11-18 months, whereas 35% said 10 months or less, while 16% said longer than 18 months.

Decreased downtime and associated costs is said to be a key advantage of well-implemented lithium powered forklifts.

The research also asked about forklift related costs analysed in detail to help evaluate its lifetime operating costs? Maintenance costs (spare parts), and Maintenance costs (labour) scored highest at 67% and 63% respectively. Other included indirect costs such as downtime at 37%, and driver costs at 27%.

The white paper read: “Given the pressure to improve efficiency and deliver 24x7 operations, maintenance and downtime are key concerns - few organisations have the luxury of spare trucks on standby, making reliability a critical consideration.”

This was backed up by David Frost, integrations project manager, iForce Group who said: “In season, when we are working 24x7 we need extra batteries, extra trucks. With Lithium-Ion charged correctly, that would be a significant improvement.”

When acquiring new trucks, the survey asked respondents what the most important factors are. The top three answers were: lifetime cost of ownership (53%), operator visibility (50%), and initial purchase price (46%).

The survey asked respondents if they would consider lithium-ion models when purchasing new trucks. Answers included: definitely consider (28%), very probably consider (22%), probably consider (28%), possibly consider (21%).

You can download the white paper here