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OneCharge Lithium-ion Batteries Help a Leading U.S. Manufacturer Stay at the Top of the Game

Briggs & Stratton, a leading U.S. small engine manufacturer, made the switch to OneCharge lithium-ion batteries to achieve the highest performance for its forklift fleet at the company’s U.S. distribution centers. Briggs & Stratton merged its smaller warehouses into two large distribution centers and switched forklift fleets at both locations to li-ion batteries from previously used lead-acid batteries.

The detailed cost analysis reportedly demonstrated significant savings of lithium batteries compared to both LPG (propane) and lead-acid batteries. After over a year of impeccable performance from OneCharge li-ion batteries, the company committed to switching all of its remaining lead-acid batteries to li-ion.

About 10 years ago, Bill Harlow, director of global distribution and warehousing, Briggs & Stratton, decided to test the long-standing practice of using lead-acid batteries as a power source for the company’s fleet of electric forklifts.

Harlow had been closely following the developments in li-ion technology. One of the company’s commercial brands, Vanguard, has a line of lithium-based power solutions. Harlow asked his longtime trade partner, Dwayne Lawhorn from YES Equipment, to help estimate the available options for the two new distribution centers.

The initial comparison included all available alternatives of power sources: fuel cells praised for their safety, li-ion batteries for longevity, “wet cell” batteries and LPG (propane) for lower initial costs. Both battery types and LPG went into the total cost of ownership calculations.

Once the deal was sealed, there was no problem fitting all of the new Class I and III lift trucks with the optimal li-ion batteries. Lawhorn and Jerry Mastroianni, sales manager from OneCharge, developed the battery specs to choose from the OneCharge product line of over 550 models.

Bill reports a 5 percent overall efficiency increase, and for a large company, this is a big deal. There are a few lead-acid-powered trucks left until the current lease term is over, and the plan is to transition to li-ion only at Briggs & Stratton.

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