On this episode I was joined by not one but five guests! I call this one battery talk because we were talking batteries for the latest edition of Material Handling Wholesaler magazine which focuses on lithium-ion batteries in our industry. I was joined by Harold Vanasse of Enersys, Robin Schneider of Greencubes Technology, John Gelsimino of Arcon Equipment, David Suarez of One Charge and Chris French of PowerBattUSA. We discuss the current state of batteries in the material handling industry including challenges with lithium-ion and sustainability of lithium-ion.
- Overall the consensus from all guests was that lithium-ion is pushing its way into more operations but it is still incredibly early in the adoption cycle. While there are certainly benefits to lithium-ion the technology is still developing to the point where there are still some unanswered questions because we have just not had to cross that bridge yet. In the discussion we touch on many of these unanswered questions and it seems the overall opinion is that we are heading in the right direction to make sure that lithium-ion gets on the right track. However, all guests were on the same page with that we will not see a total lithium-ion takeover and lead acid will still be present in the industry 10 years from now.
- Some of the challenges that were raised include sustainability of lithium-ion and the cost of entry. Right now due to lithium-ion being such a young technology for our industry there has not really been a fully developed recycling program or way to properly dispose of the batteries. Currently they are being repurposed but end of life has not necessarily been determined or been determined in a way that makes economical sense for all parties involved. Another point to sustainability that Chris brought up was how long will the actual supply of natural resources that lithium-ion needs last. With many things now requiring these resources to operate there may be a shortage at some point.
- While the total cost of ownership can be greatly reduced by switching to lithium-ion the cost of entry is very high. Most operations can not afford to switch over at once due to this which slows down the adoption of lithium-ion as many businesses do not have the resources for this. Additionally, the benefits can be the reduced amount of maintenance on these batteries but Harold points out that new forms of lead acid are also becoming available in the market that are maintenance free so it will be interested to see how the market develops over the next few years.
Listen to the episode below and leave your thoughts in the comments.
Be sure to check out the February 2022 issue of Material Handling Wholesaler Magazine here.