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EnSol Technologies, a Skolkovo resident tech startup, has entered a cooperation agreement with Panasonic to develop a new battery for forklift trucks that could double the efficiency of warehouse work.
Many industrial forklifts and other electric reach vehicles use traditional batteries similar to those in road cars, usually providing enough power for eight-hour shifts and subsequently requiring an eight-hour charge.
EnSol produces lithium-ion batteries more like those present in smartphones, allowing the trucks to power up in 90 minutes or less.
“Our technology means the shift pattern at the warehouse ceases to depend on the lifecycle of a forklift’s battery,” Konstantin Klein, EnSol’s executive director, told sk.ru.
Klein, third from left, at a news conference in Moscow this week. Panasonic Rus is represented by vice president Masako Nakamura, second right. Photo: sk.ru
Already the company claims it has slashed the costs of maintaining forklifts by 30 percent – the batteries are hermetically sealed and require no maintenance whatsoever - and hopes to chip away another 20 percent using Panasonic technology.
This week EnSol announced that it is working on a prototype battery with a Panasonic cell. The Japanese giant produces cells for use in Tesla electric cars.
“We really liked the Tesla idea,” Klein said. “My opinion is that Panasonic produces the best cells in the world. They have a long lifecycle and work incredibly well.”
Nikolai Grachev, the executive director of Skolkovo’s Energy-Efficient Technologies cluster, called EnSol “a bright example of a small Russian innovative business can create a very good product if it understands its market and strikes up the right relationships with partners.”
“This [battery] is a technological solution that is genuinely competitive on the world market, and from a team that will have to be reckoned with,” Grachev said.