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Lithium-ion investment

09 June 2015

Norwegian wholesaler Europris is investing in lithium-ion batteries supplied by GNB Industrial Power, a division of Exide Technologies.

The company trialled GNB’s Sonnenschein Lithium batteries on some of its forklift fleet for six months, and lowered its operating costs significantly.

Compared with traditional batteries, lithium-ion batteries are smaller and more energy efficient, and recharge around eight times faster. Charging times are so fast that the same battery can be used around the clock, with short bursts of recharging while workers take breaks.

Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive to buy but much cheaper to run and maintain. They are especially useful in 24/7 operations, which would otherwise require 2–3 batteries per forklift, switched throughout the day. Lithium-ion eliminates this need entirely, improving productivity and return on investment.

Lithium-ion technology also allows businesses to do away with charging rooms, freeing up floor space for storage and operations. This is particularly beneficial when space is at a premium, or where property prices are more expensive. The batteries also require no maintenance or water refilling, and lead to much-reduced energy bills compared with lead-acid batteries.

Europris is in the process of replacing around 150 forklifts, with GNB providing lead-acid and Sonnenschein Lithium batteries, and a set of GNB chargers with specially optimised charging algorithms.