Advanced battery technology in a new line-up of forklift trucks being unveiled at CeMAT 2014 promises massive reduction in operating costs.Advanced battery technology in a new line-up of forklift trucks being unveiled at CeMAT 2014 promises to provide end users with a massive reduction in their operating costs, in a green and highly efficient range of machines that will cost no more than conventional electric forklifts…

A new range of forklift trucks to be launched at CeMAT 2014 on the stand of BYD Europe (Hall 25, Stand C22) is set to shake up the market for conventional battery-powered forklifts by redefining the performance users can expect from electric materials handling equipment.

The four-strong line-up of new forklifts – three counterbalanced forklift trucks and a powered pallet truck – all incorporate BYD’s lithium-iron phosphate batteries (Fe battery), which require significantly less time and energy to charge than traditional lead-acid batteries and are also far cleaner and safer than alternative lithium-ion (Li-ion) power options.

The use of the BYD lithium iron phosphate Fe battery extends total battery life to the point where users never need to replace their truck’s original battery. It also does away entirely with the need for battery maintenance, avoids the emissions associated with traditional battery charging, and removes the expense of buying and maintaining spare batteries, as well as the time, trouble and handling equipment involved in battery changing.

Fast (1 to 2 hour) charging times and lower (40% less) energy consumption during charging, together with the much longer lifetime of lithium iron phosphate Fe batteries (typically well over 10 years compared to as little as four years for a lead-acid battery), all contribute to a dramatic 20-25% reduction in operating costs over the life of the lift truck.

The BYD Fe batteries also provide huge operational flexibility as they can be charged incrementally, rather than in one go, allowing operators to derive significant extensions to truck operating times in no more than the time it takes a driver to slip off for a quick coffee break.

The BYD lithium iron phosphate Fe battery is, additionally, a much safer and cleaner battery technology than lead-acid or lithium-ion alternatives, posing no threat to truck operators who might come into contact with the battery. The BYD Fe batteries will not burn or explode, even under pressure or when punctured, and also cannot contaminate ground or water supplies, even if crushed.

On the company’s stand at CeMAT 2014 will be three variants of the BYD four-wheel counterbalanced truck with lift capacities of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes (CPD2000/CPD2500/CPD3500), as well as a 2.0 tonne powered pallet truck (CBD2000). The new range also includes a three-wheel 1.6 tonne counterbalanced unit (CPD1600) that will be unveiled at a later date.

The Chinese-made BYD trucks, believed to be the first full range of industrial forklifts in the world powered exclusively by lithium-iron phosphate battery technology, will go on sale in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg this autumn, with France and the United Kingdom to follow next year.

The new models, which are just the first in a wide range of handling equipment BYD will be introducing in Europe shortly including reach trucks, stacker trucks, order pickers and tow trucks, incorporate all the features today’s sophisticated fleets demand of their forklift trucks and have been carefully designed to appeal to fleet managers, logistics operators, workshop engineers and forklift operators alike.

With full suspension seats, fingertip electronic controls, heated cabins, programmable performance characteristics, regenerative braking, active stability control and a range of clear-view masts all on offer, the new BYD counterbalanced trucks have been specified to compete directly with the most advanced trucks on the market today – with the added benefit of the lower operating costs from the use of BYD Fe batteries effectively thrown in for free.

“BYD’s new range of lift trucks have been produced to exacting standards and fitted with the latest technology to provide users with a robust and sophisticated handling solution that compares very well with other trucks on the market,” confirms Javier Contijoch, Forklifts Director at BYD Europe.

“On top of that, they will also be priced very competitively, which means the extra benefits end users will enjoy – in particular the 20-25% savings on operating costs they should derive from BYD’s advanced lithium iron phosphate battery technology – will be provided at what is, effectively, no extra cost. Users get to keep the whole of the benefit for themselves.”

All BYD lift trucks are built at a dedicated, one million square metre factory established recently in the city of Shaoguan, south east China, and will be supported by a new central European warehouse at Venlo in The Netherlands that will stock hundreds of finished trucks as well as a full range of spares, providing express deliveries to dealerships around the EU in as little as 24 hours.

The extensive European dealership network itself will include 25 dealers in Germany, two in the Netherlands and two in Belgium. Dealerships are currently being sought throughout Europe.

Being the world’s largest rechargeable battery manufacturer, BYD is China’s fastest growing auto maker with a range of pure electric vehicles, some of which are now being introduced to the European markets. The advanced Fe battery technology has been proven in thousands of electric vehicles around the globe including buses, cars and taxis – as well as forklift trucks.