In today’s society, we utilise battery technology constantly like our mobile phone, computers and tools. The technology has matured to such a stage that we have even built power stations, cars, trucks, aircraft and even ships. It time to ask the question “Why can’t we have a similar system for our Work Vehicles”
In our rapid pace work environment, field technicians need access to AC power to provide services to customers. Traditionally in Australia we used the following systems:
- A small petrol operated Generator
- Dual Battery system installed in the vehicle
Each system is proven field technology but has drawbacks:
- Transportation of fuel. Petrol needs to be transported in the vehicle,
- Noise levels. Decibel levels can reach 60-90dB depending on the brand,
- Exhaust fumes. Generators create toxic gasses,
- Maintenance. Generator’s require periodic maintenance,
- Restrictions. Many Sites won’t permit the use of a petrol Generator due to hazards,
- Portability. A dual battery system limits the Technician to the vicinity of the vehicle,
- Depth of Discharge of the secondary battery system. Access to stored capacity can be limited to 50%,
- Weight. Total weight of a Dual Battery system can exceed 100kg.
Trending International Technology
Across Europe and North America, many Companies have upgraded work vehicles to green energy. Consequently, they have enhancing their green credentials and reducing operating costs. Brands like BT, Honda, JCB, Sainsbury, TDC and UK Search & Rescue have installed lithium battery-based power solutions.
A lithium battery generator is packed with technology;
|Weight||5kg to 150kg|
|Power Inverter||400W to 10,000W continuous|
|Storage||400Wh to 24,000Wh|
|Depth of Discharge||80 to 100%|
|Safety||Battery Management System|
|Intelligent Charging||Solar, Wind, AC direct, DC direct|
|Operating Temperature||-10°C to 50°C|
|Maintenance||Minimum, cleaning of a solar panel|
|Green Credentials||Produces no harmful pollutant whilst operating|
A basic system includes the following components which can be fitted to any vehicle, big or small;
- Lithium Battery Generator – fixed or portable
- Solar Panel
Solar panels can be installed on the roof of the vehicle. During the day, the system recharges. Once on the Site, the Technician disconnects the generator from the solar panel and carries it to the job. When finished, the Technician places the generator back in the vehicle and reconnects the solar panel, its that easy. At night, the Technician can remove the generator and charge it from any AC wall socket ensuring its 100% ready for the morning.
Some examples where these systems can be applied;
Roadside Car Mechanic
Search & Rescue
Depending on the system and application, pricing can start from as little as AUD2,500 to AUD15,000. Yes, they are initially expensive, but the benefits eventually outweigh the current Technology. Portable generators burn fossil fuel, require maintenance, produce pollution (air & noise) and can be restricted on some Sites. A Dual Battery system limits the Technician to the vicinity of the vehicle, so the system cant be deemed portable. A lithium battery generator requires no maintenance and can operate between 8-10 years before the battery needs to be replaced.
Just think about, how many litres of petrol would you buy in 8 years?