With the arrival of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a Power Sources feature is a timely place for warehouse and logistics operations to think about the case for running warehouse trucks and delivery vehicles as cleanly as possible.

To start with warehouse truck batteries, the Lead Acid or Lithium-Ion debate continues to run on. Triathlon Battery Solutions is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of both technologies. Defying the myth that you need to buy a new truck in order to switch from lead acid to lithium-Ion, Triathlon can manufacture battery trays to match any lead acid battery, which allows them to retro-fit Lithium- Ion batteries into existing electric trucks.

On the charger front, Ecobat’s VERTU package is more expensive than a standard battery and charger but after 12 months, the situation reverses and customers begin to benefit from energy savings that continue over the life of the package.

Managing the power requirements of large materials handling fleets is a complex task. Fleet management systems, as provided by materials handling vehicle OEMs and others, typically cover vehicle location, safe deployment and shock detection. But these systems often fall short on reporting the battery status of warehouse trucks, vital to minimising down time during shifts.

What is needed for battery monitoring are power management solutions like those supplied by Enersys, which use battery monitoring devices to collect usage and charging data from vehicle battery sensors, which can then be analysed by cloudbased battery operations management system and turned into easily readable reports, accessible by PC, tablet or smartphone. Ideally the data is also visible via battery dashboards in each vehicle, allowing drivers to see and respond to battery issues in real time.

Staying with forklifts, until now JCB’s Teletruks have been powered by diesel and LPG and used predominantly in outdoor applications. The new electric Teletruk is suitable for a wealth of tasks inside as well as outside, offering a new generation of customers the cost and space saving advantages enjoyed by Teletruk users over the past two decades.

Yes, ultra clean LPG engines are in use in some distribution hubs, but the majority of forklifts in these locations are electric powered. When moving product across extensive sites, changing from yard truck to warehouse truck and back again is costly in terms of trucks and operators. The CombiLift Forklift is reliable, robust and offers fast operation when moving product across. Its ultra-clean Deutz engine reduces maintenance costs, reduces fuel consumption and ensures cleaner emissions, allowing warehouses to reduce their carbon footprint.

Finally, Ernie the Milkman was the hero of a comic Benny Hill song in the 1970s, but the real-life ‘Ernies’ successfully expanded the product range they sold on their electric milk floats to include, yogurts, cream, butter and fruit juices, leading to the birth of the concept of ‘home deliveries’ as we know it. Channelling the ghost of Ernie, in 2019 Renault Trucks are leading the march to ‘#SwitchToElectric’ as their first Master Z.E. fully electric vans arrive on our roads, ideal for urban operations and making it more ‘E-Zee’ to cope with the challenges of LEZ’s and Clean Air Zones (CAZ’s.)

BILL REDMOND

Features Editor