Perfect Charging

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Perfect Charging

Lithium-ion solutions from Fronius

The role of lithium-ion technology (Li-ion) in intralogistics is becoming increasingly important – with good reason: lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, have a long service life, are maintenance-free, extremely energy-efficient and have an impressive charging time of just a few minutes. All major forklift truck manufacturers now offer models with a lithium-ion battery.

How lithium-ion technology works

The movement of the lithium ions in a lithium-ion battery produces an electromotive force, which can be used to drive forklift trucks, for instance. During charging, the ions move from the positive to the negative electrode of the battery and remain stored there until the user discharges the battery again. Li-ion energy systems are completely maintenance-free and have zero emissions. In contrast to the classic lead battery, users do not have to top them up with water, measure the acid density or clean the battery.

The negative electrode is generally made from graphite. However, forklift truck manufacturers are increasingly opting for special lithium battery technologies that use a combination of nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide, sulphur, air and in particular iron phosphate (LiFePO4) as electrode materials. These have an impressively high output and low weight, are non-flammable and enjoy optimum explosion protection, even in extreme conditions.


Lithium-ion devices have a far longer service life than a lead battery. The number of charging cycles and depth of discharge are also better than for lead batteries. The lightweight and compact design of the lithium-ion solutions makes them extremely flexible in where they can be deployed. As much as 30% of the energy consumption can be saved compared to a lead-acid battery. Other advantages include quick and easy opportunity charging and the absence of the memory effect. The safety of lithium-ion technology is also convincing: when a lead battery is being charged, hydrogen escapes and this is highly explosive in combination with oxygen, whereas li-ion batteries do not produce any dangerous gases. If you compare the operating costs of the two drive systems in terms of energy, maintenance, inspection, water, battery handling, battery changing and opportunity charging, you can reduce your expenditure by more than half with lithium-ion technology.

Applications for lithium-ion technology

Which technology is a better fit for your company depends upon a few aspects.

Space savings or reduction of complexity. The low complexity in handling argues for the use of lithium-ion batteries: They are maintenance-free and do not need to be replaced even during multi-shift operation. Instead, the batteries can be opportunity charged during breaks or shift changes. If space savings are a top priority, lithium-ion batteries allow to reclaim storage space that was previously used for the charging infrastructure of lead-acid batteries. The purchase of lead-acid batteries still offers price advantages compared to lithium-ion technology. If your forklift trucks are in continuous use for a longer period of time and opportunity charging is not possible, the use of lead-acid batteries is recommended.

The following reasons can speak for the use of lithium-ion batteries:

Lithium-ion traction batteries in front of a SelectION battery charger.
Cost savings through freedom from maintenance and service

Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are maintenance-free and therefore suitable for customers where every minute counts and with little time for maintenance work. For example, lithium-ion batteries do not need to be refilled with battery water. In the rare case that a lithium-ion battery needs to be replaced (normally a battery replacement is not necessary), then the change involves little effort.

Save and flexible fast and opportunity charging is possible

Since the charging process is controlled by the battery management system (BMS), there is no need to manually select a charging characteristic with our SelectION chargers - this is done automatically. In addition, SelectION chargers offer multivoltage support: batteries with lower voltages can also be charged with one and the same charger. This makes the charging process easy and safe by avoiding the use of an incompatible charger.

Men driving a forklift truck in front of a SelectION lithium-ion battery charger.
Multi-shift operation without back-up batteries

Due to the longer charging time, a back-up battery is required for lead-acid batteries in multi-shift operation. The lithium-ion battery remains in the forklift truck during charging and is opportunity charged at break times (e.g. during shift change).

Emission-free operation and charging without the formation of gases

Lithium-ion batteries do not emit dangerous gases and are therefore very well suited for use in the food or pharmaceutical industries, for example. The costs for the exhaust air system for lead-acid batteries can be saved.

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