Advanced Lithium Battery Technology Demonstration for Forklift Trucks

Advanced Lithium Battery Technology Demonstration for Forklift Trucks

NCMS Project #: 140855

Problem: The Department of Defense (DoD), specifically Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) owns and operates large fleets of Class 1 & 2 forklift trucks for material handling purposes. Within DLA Distribution 2,397 of these forklift trucks are electric, powered by very large lead-acid batteries. Forklifts in 24-hour, round the clock operations require 2–3 batteries per forklift, switched throughout the day. Lithium-ion can completely eliminate this need.

Benefit: Lithium battery operating costs and benefits used in targeted equipment vs. the traditional lead-acid batteries currently used in similar equipment and in a similar use cycle will be documented. This will allow a clear delineation of the financial and productivity impact of switching to fast-charging lithium batteries. With potential for up to $6,000 annual savings per truck, the total opportunity for savings to DLA across all domestic warehouse operations and 2,397 trucks is nearly $14M annually.

Solution/Approach: The initiative will focus on evaluating the utility, feasibility, maintainability and cost savings of utilizing new fast-charging lithium deep-cycle forklift batteries in an industrial warehouse setting. Utilizing a DLA warehouse(s) as a test bed will allow for a full range of evaluations without hampering commercial day-to-day business activities. This will be accomplished by converting current vehicles and equipment at the target location(s) to lithium batteries and tracking their performance during the evaluation period.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Reduced weight
  • Longer energy storage and lifespan
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Positive impact on environment

DOD Participation:

  • DLA Distribution
  • DLA R&D
  • DLA (Susquehanna)
  • OSD

Industry Participation:

  • Navitas Systems
  • Analytic Strategies, LLC
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Safety
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Energy, environmental, health, and safety

Final Report