Material-handling vehicles running off 24-80V lead batteries do not, unlike automotive applications, generally need to be adapted to Li-ion battery technology. However, with Li-ion power dropping in price, the situation has started to change.

The capacity of a lead battery - from 25kWh up to 60kWh for larger vehicles - restricts the available power. Electric vehicles are limited in terms of power consumption, saving energy at the expense of performance. With Li-ion technology, existing vehicle types can be upgraded in power, and more powerful vehicle types can be considered, equipped with stronger electric drives that match the performance of combustion engines. As a result, peak and average power, current and voltage rating increase for existing and new vehicle classes at the upper end of the material handling fleet. Vehicles fitted with 10-20kW motors may, in future, be upgraded to 20-40kW.This increase creates many challenges for drivetrain designers, including the voltage level of the battery. To minimize safety requirements and maintain cost constraints, staying within the established 48-80V range is preferable. But the higher currents and output power must be addressed in terms of lifetime requirements and overall system ruggedness. SKAI 2LV inverters allow sufficient increase of the phase currents due to excellent thermal resistances and a combination of the latest power MOSFET technologies - Rdson = 0.3mΩ (typical) per switch at 48V; Rdson = 0.8mΩ (typical) per switch at 80V.