Charged – Electric Forklift Battery Basics

Electric forklifts are widely recognized for easy maintenance and reduced operating costs compared to internal combustion units. Yet, to fully capitalize on the cost savings provided by AC electric forklifts and lift trucks, the industrial batteries on these units need to be treated properly and with care.

An average industrial battery should last at least 1,500 charge cycles over 5 and 15 years. Without the proper care and maintenance, however, the lifespan of an industrial battery is dramatically reduced. To protect your company from spending thousands of dollars on unnecessary battery replacements, it makes take a few simple precautions to protect your investment.

What is a Charge?

Unsurprisingly, proper battery care begins with a firm understanding of battery charges and charging. Forklift batteries are generally rated for a given number of charges, so understanding what constitutes a charge is an important step towards maximizing your investment. A charge cycle is "used" up anytime a battery is charged, regardless of its state of discharge or how long it's charged for.

The Perfect Charge?

To get the most out of your industrial forklift battery, it's important to strike a balance between charging and discharging your battery. To avoid unnecessary charging and a reduced battery life, it's best to wait until the battery is 80% discharged – without going over – before charging the forklift battery. As such, avoid the temptation to automatically connect your battery to its charger at the end of the day. Industrial batteries are not like a cell phone or laptop battery as overcharging damages the battery and reduces its ability to accept a charge in the future. The focus here is to maximize the energy extracted from the battery per charge since there's a limited number of charges available during each battery's effective life. At the same time, take special care to avoid completing depleting your forklift battery, as a depleted battery can take up to 72 hours of continuous charging to fully charge.

Equalizing Charges

Due to their chemical makeup, industrial forklift batteries require regular equalization charges (approximately every 10 charges) for a prolonged lifespan and to maintain optimal efficiency. These equalization charges reverse a chemical process known as stratification, which occurs when the acid within the battery case becomes more concentrated at the bottom of the battery. The equalization process equally redistributes the acid levels within the battery case and helps to remove sulfate crystals that tend to form on the battery plates.

If your business is struggles with striking a balance between battery charge and discharge, or if your forklifts no longer last as long as you need them to, contact Lucas Liftruck Services today. Between our sales and technical experts, we'll ensure your needs are met and maintained. Also, be sure to watch for our next blog post, where we'll discuss battery maintenance tasks and schedules.

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Jason Isso

Hopefully these tips will help prolong the lifespan of our forklift batteries!

Lucas Liftruck

Hi Jason, If you follow them and keep up with your maintenance, they definitely should!

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