Batteries and chargers: it’s crucial to buy smart

Is buying an intelligent charger worth the outlay? Do cheap batteries save money in the long run?

The importance of optimum battery life for your application and ensuring it’s matched with the right charger becomes easily overlooked when looking at the prices of them. It’s human nature to want to go for the cheaper price. However, if you have a poor match, it can dramatically shorten the life of the battery. But a good battery and charger union could cut your energy bills by as much as 30% – and that’s not the only benefit.

As with most things, you need to look at the overall cost as an investment. This is something you and/or your workers will be using frequently and the although the initial cost is higher, the whole life running costs of electric trucks almost always work out cheaper than their LG gas or diesel equivalents over a 5 year period.

Euro-for-Euro electrics give you more energy per penny than it’s gas or diesel counterparts. That makes a huge difference in the long run as energy costs are a significant operational cost (second only to the cost of the operator him/herself. Tip: coffee is usually the best cost for energy ratio for workers!).

When it comes to minimising your running costs, specifying the right combination of battery and charger is paramount. It requires the buyer to take a holistic approach rather than opting for the lowest purchase prices.


Battery and Charger: The Right Combination

A forklift battery is expensive: typically accounting for more than 20% of your machine’s total purchase price.  Small wonder: it’s effectively your fuel source for the next five years. As such, it’s important you get the best return from it.

Battery technology has improved significantly in recent years… but so too has charger design and performance – especially the new generation of intelligent models..

Intuitive by design, this new breed of charger can sense the age, state, temperature and charge of a battery – meaning you don’t need to worry about over or undercharging and the risk of shortening battery life.

With 50Hz chargers and Ri active inverter tech, you can achieve up to 93% efficiency — a 50% increase over conventional chargers.


Beware of False Economies

As with all things in life, with batteries and chargers, you tend to get what you pay for. A cheap battery may appear to offer a good deal when all you’re looking at the initial purchase price. However, look beyond that and the numbers tell a different tale.

Cheaper batteries tend to use much lower quality lead, or even less lead altogether. So while you’re saving a few pounds/euros at the front end of the deal, you’ll have far fewer battery cycles before the whole thing needs replacing.

To ensure you get the longest, safest life from your battery:

  • Don’t charge a battery that’s only partially discharged (lead-acid only)
  • Always finish the charge cycle before disconnecting
  • Only top up with distilled water
  • Check the plug and socket regularly
  • Compare intelligent chargers with traditional versions – they are more expensive but will prevent many problems (under or over-charging etc), extend battery life, optimise shift length and reduce energy/running costs.


Changing Market

Once just the mainstay of indoor operations, the advent of weatherproof electrics, like the Mitsubishi 80V EDiA EX, means that they can be used indoors or out.

And while, standard practice is to replace your current truck with a similar one (eg diesel for diesel), that’s starting to change, too.

And it’s easy to see why. The EDiA EX is top of its class for electrics, but – put it head-to-head against its IC-engine equivalents and you’ll see it surpasses them in a range of areas, including acceleration, maximum travel, and lift speeds.

A Bright Idea

We heard on the grape vine that a Mitsubishi customer in Suffolk, England even managed to take EDiA EX’s benefits even further – harnessing the power of the sun to charge his truck.

The owner of a removals company, he installed solar panels on his warehouse roof. During sunnier months, the panels provide the energy to charge his truck batteries free of charge. And, by selling the excess power back to the energy suppliers, he was able to cover his truck’s maintenance costs.


The Welfaux Conclusion?

We know that a good battery and charger union might be more expensive than you were hoping for, but the age old saying “you get what you pay for” could not be more true. A cheap battery may look like a good deal, but with less lead, you’ll have to replace it in next to no time. But the more expensive ones are intuative; you don’t have to worry about over or undercharging, saving you time and money.

Taking time to find the right charger-battery combo is not only smart financially but also safer. Considering whole-life costs is one of the smartest things you can do.