What is a Traction Battery?

What is a Traction Battery?

April 28, 2022 | by digital@lkda.co.za

Traction batteries are used as power sources for electric propulsion in applications which include road vehicles, locomotives, industrial forklift trucks and any mechanical handling equipment (MHE).

There are many types of Traction Battery Technologies:

1. Lead Acid Batteries (PzS – PzB)

These are the most common type of traction battery for forklifts and MHE. It makes use of vented lead acid batteries with a liquid electrolyte.

2. Pure Lead Carbon Batteries

Generally, these batteries require lower maintenance than other types of traction batteries, by utilising almost pure lead. With the addition of carbon these batteries can recharge very fast and produce high power when discharged. They can operate in harsh conditions and deliver good performance in cold conditions.

3. Gel Batteries

Usually used in most industries that require a fully sealed battery with no gas emissions. Gel batteries utilise gel electrolytes, which makes them suitable for solar, semi-traction and standby applications.

4. Lithium-Ion Phosphate Batteries

Lithium-Ion Phosphate batteries (LiPO4) are very light weight and have a very high energy density, combined with a very high cycle life and a very high charge/discharge efficiency (up to 2 hours charge time following a full discharge). This makes the LiPO4 battery the ideal battery choice for traction and MHE applications.

What is a traction battery choice for your Electric Vehicle?

Forklift trucks have battery containers which are standard sizes based on multiples of the appropriate cell dimensions. Considerations when choosing a suitable battery go beyond simply choosing the right capacity, which of course is critical. Other factors which influence battery choice include:

  • The make and size of forklift
  • Length of operation
  • Application
  • Location

When charging forklift batteries, it is very important to follow the instructions in the traction battery manual of the forklift and the traction battery user manual. General safety precautions require that you use personal protective equipment like full shield eye goggles, rubber gloves, and nose mask. This is to avoid accidental contact with the acid electrolyte. Remove all loose-fitting metallic ornaments like bangles or necklaces to avoid any accidental contact and to avoid short circuits and sparks which may cause hydrogen gas ignition.