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Nissan to Show Forklift Concept with AESC Li-ion Battery

Nissan Forklift will debut its first Li-ion powered forklift concept model at the CeMAT 2008 logistics exhibition, to be held at Hannover from 27-31 May. The electric-powered forklift employs battery technology developed by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint-venture between Nissan Motor Co. and NEC Corporation and NEC TOKIN Corporation. (Earlier post.)

This technology was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the Nissan concept car “Mixim”. The technology is also featured in the PIVO 2 concept car.

Under Nissan’s GT 2012 mid-term business plan, the company has committed to introduce a pure electric vehicle in the US and Japan in 2010 and then to mass-market electric vehicles to consumers globally in 2012.

Nissan Forklift expects to introduce the Li-ion technology in its products by 2009.


If Nissan can make Li batteries competitive with led acid in forklift applications (where weight savings are unimportant because the batteries are also a counterweight)then we should see the same batteries available in cars.

Also, a forklift application would test the battery performance under real world loading conditions and gain it enhanced credibility as a viable long term power storage system for Battery Electric cars.

This also will let them scale up battery production with an assured market for a minimum number of units.

Using fast charging lithium batteries for forklifts will save all the recharging space and money needed to buy extra lead acid batteries for the forklift and it will save the a device that can swap the heavy battery. 1kwh of this battery can probably replace 3 or 5 kWh of lead acid batteries. So you can’t conclude that because there is a business case for forklifts with this battery there is also one for EVs with this battery. It would make sense for forklifts at $1000-$1500 per kWh. For EVs to make business sense we need $300-$500 per kWh or less.


me right above


Some of those fork lifts are used almost around the clock. A very good testing ground for new (various sizes) lithium automotive batteries for the Israel BEV project.

John Taylor

@ Henrik ... good points.
One nice thing ... Massive Li production at $1000-$1500 per kWh for forklifts will soon bring economies of scale into play and bring the price down to the $300-$500 per kWh or less needed for BEVs to make business sense.

@ HarveyD The Israel BEV project should demonstrate the viability of BEV technology and speed introduction of this to the rest of the world. As you note, the forklift is a super test bed for batteries.


Forklifts used at sites where most of their work is unloading trucks is an ideal application for fast charging batteries, preferably in combination with ultracaps.
So much energy to recuperate when the load on forks is lowered down.


energy recovery when you lower the load?.. you gotta be kidding me.

I really dont think this relates too much to electric cars, but at least it should lower the cost.. hopefully.


There are lots of markets for LiIon to be tested on before BEVS. The progression in my mind-

1. Consumer Electronics
2. Power Tools/ Lawn Equipment
3. Golf Carts
4. Fork Lifts
5. Replacement for regular Lead-Acid in vehicles
6. Mild-hybrid
7. HEV
9. BEV


@ Herm:

Exactly, as you said: "energy recovery when you lower the load".
Basic physics.
That's also how hydroelectric power plants work. Sun's energy (thru evaporation and then rainfalls) fills up the lakes that provide the elevated 'load' (in this case water) that falls onto turbines and spins them.
(Think of gravity force).
Or look at this another way: You'd probably agree that if you want a forklift to lift a load, you need to spend some energy to do that job. The heavier the load, and the longer the lifting movement, the more energy you need to spend.
When lowering the same load, the opposite happen, ie you have a chance to capture the energy.
The simple way (to capture the energy) is make the 'falling' load spin the generator (that can also work as lifting motor), ie generator works as a brake.
If the generator does not provide enough braking force, increase it by inserting a reductor (say 5 to 1) and you'll get (much) stonger braking force.
With the extra reductor generator spins faster while the load on forks slides down slower.


I know there is energy there, but it is so dilute that it will be hardly worthwile to recover.


These articles always fail to mention what a great ride forklifts are for picking up chics. I have a friend who could tell you a story or two about his trusty Komatsu.


@ Herm:

Let's see how much energy can be recovered per tonne taken off a truck, or how many tonnes are needed to generate one kWh of energy.
Truck storage area is about 1.1m above ground.
To lift 1 tonne to 1.1m the work/energy needed is = 1,000 kg x 1.1m x g (9.81 or ~ 10 m/s^2) which is 11 kJ or 11 kWs (kW seconds).
When generating energy by lowering load, we can assume that 60-65% is recoverable (motor about 85%, batteries 75-80% efficient).
So 60% x 11 kWs = 6.6 kWs (or 6.6 kJ) = energy generated per tonne lowered.
1 kWh = 3,600 kJ

3,600 kJ/ (6.6 kJ/tonne) = 545 tonnes

It comes out that in order to generate 1kWh of el.energy (and put it into LiIOn battery) on forklift (by unloading a truck load to the floor), about 545 tonnes need to be unloaded. It may be 15-17 trailers (not sure about that).
I don't know to what pct it would extend battery charge (don't know power consumption of electric forklifts, though people who handle them can find out that easily)

The conclusion could be that it only makes sense to apply this type of recovery when heavy loads are unloaded, ie for stronger forklifts.
For light loads it's not worth implementing.

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