Jungheinrich was the first manufacturer to launch industrial trucks with lithium-ion batteries - they are now a standard feature of intralogistics. A chronicle of lithium-ion technology made by Jungheinrich.
Jungheinrich's lithium-ion technology goes back further than that of any other manufacturer: at CeMAT 2008, Jungheinrich presented its "Concept 08" truck study – the vision of an industrial truck of the future. The futuristic design combined lithium-ion batteries installed in the truck chassis with a direct drive in which gearless electric motors were integrated directly into the wheels. The new battery technology, as the company already recognised at the time, enables a significantly more compact and ergonomic design.
In 2011 – exactly ten years ago – the first pedestrian pallet truck with lithium-ion battery was introduced: The EJE 112i. Even then, the 112i demonstrated all the advantages of the still young lithium-ion technology: greater safety, freedom from maintenance and a long service life. The new battery weighed just over 14 kilograms. The weight of the EJE 112i was thus reduced by an impressive 150 kilograms compared to the vehicle powered by a lead-acid battery. The new one was therefore ideally suited for use in weight-sensitive areas, such as on the loading tailboard or as a portable unit on the truck.
From an economic point of view, the lithium-ion battery has had great advantages right from the start. Compared to the lead-acid battery, for example, it has twice the service life. Lower maintenance costs and the complete elimination of second batteries for use in two- or three-shift operation, which would have to be kept in stock, do the rest. And the technology is also convincing in terms of sustainability: despite a higher energy input during production, a lithium-ion truck has a CO2 footprint that is around 20 per cent smaller than a comparable vehicle with a lead-acid battery. Compared to a diesel truck, the figure is as much as 50 per cent.
A decisive milestone in Jungheinrich's holistic lithium-ion strategy was undoubtedly the launch of the ETV 216i in 2018. Once again, Jungheinrich lived up to its claim of being a pioneer in lithium-ion technology. The reach truck was the world's first truck with a completely new lithium-ion battery concept.
In 2019, the ERC 216zi, the first electric pallet truck with an with a permanently integrated lithium-ion battery was introduced. The manoeuvrable electric high lift truck ERCzi is designed for safe storage and retrieval at great heights of up to six metres. It handles goods transport over medium to long distances and is suitable for order picking.
Two more vehicle models followed in 2021. The ERD 220i is the most compact vehicle in its class. The particularly small vehicle dimensions were made possible by the use of the new lithium-ion battery concept. By eliminating the bulky battery tray, the ERD 220i is a full 300 mm shorter than its predecessor, which corresponds to a space saving of around 25 percent. This makes the electric pedestrian stacker even more agile and manoeuvrable and offers customers the option of using it in confined spaces. The same storage area can thus be utilised more intensively, because the ERD 220i only requires narrow aisles. The compact design of the vehicle also convinced the jury of the Red Dot Design Awards. In the competition, which annually honours the world's best and most innovative products, our electric high-lift truck was named "Best of the Best".
The advantages of the ERD 220i's vehicle platform could be used directly for another, even more compact vehicle. In the summer, the ERE 225i electric pedestrian pallet truck was launched, which was built on the basis of the ERD 220i vehicle platform and is ideally suited for operations without stacking tasks. Because it has no mast, drivers on the ERE 225i stand closer to the forks and have a clearer view of the goods to be transported.