How to Minimize Downtime with Smart Charging Infrastructure

Oct. 18, 2023
New charging technologies have ushered in an era of efficiency and reliability for ground support equipment and electric forklift fleets.

As the world continues to embrace the advantages of electric mobility, advanced charging technologies have become instrumental in optimizing electric vehicle fleets. Among these, the ground support equipment (GSE) sector, including electric forklifts, relies heavily on smart charging infrastructure to ensure operational efficiency and uptime.

By addressing common challenges such as battery cell failures and power surges, smart charging infrastructure plays a pivotal role in minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.

The Impact of Battery Cell Failures

One of the primary causes of downtime in electric forklifts and GSE is battery cell failures. A single faulty battery cell can significantly impact vehicle performance and range, leading to operational disruptions and increased maintenance costs.

To address this issue, advanced charging technologies provide real-time monitoring capabilities that allow operators to detect potential battery cell failures early on. By identifying and resolving issues promptly, fleet managers can ensure the smooth operation of their electric fleets and extend the overall lifespan of the batteries.

Battery cell failures can occur due to various factors, such as manufacturing defects, improper charging or excessive discharge. By continuously monitoring the health of individual battery cells, smart charging infrastructure can identify deviations from normal behavior and alert operators of potential issues. This proactive approach allows for timely intervention and corrective action, reducing the risk of unexpected failures and optimizing battery performance.

Safeguarding Battery Investments

Protecting battery investments is of paramount importance for material handling operations. Power surges and electrical failures pose risks to the integrity of batteries, potentially resulting in costly replacements. Smart charging infrastructure, such as the Quantum GSE Battery Charger made by Advanced Charging Technologies (ACT), is designed with protective measures to reduce the risk of damage caused by power fluctuations. This safeguarding approach not only preserves the lifespan of batteries but also helps to optimize their performance and minimize operational disruptions.

What’s more, Wi-Fi connectivity and real-time analytics enable operators to identify patterns related to power surges or fluctuations. By continuously monitoring charging processes, a charger can respond to sudden changes in voltage levels and adapt charging protocols accordingly. Additionally, chargers with a NEMA 3R outdoor rating and UL approval ensure uninterrupted operations in challenging environmental conditions, safeguarding the entire charging system from external elements and power-related issues.

Charger Efficiency for Enhanced Performance

Efficiency in charging processes is crucial to extending battery life and maximizing uptime. Smart charging infrastructure is equipped with advanced technologies that optimize energy consumption during charging. With peak efficiencies exceeding 94 percent, smart charging technology reduces power consumption and ensures batteries are charged optimally, promoting their longevity and overall health.

Traditional charging methods may not take into account the specific needs of different battery types, leading to overcharging or undercharging. Smart charging infrastructure addresses this challenge by incorporating intelligence into the charging process. The Quantum GSE Battery Charger's ability to accommodate multiple battery chemistries, including lithium-ion, sealed lead-acid (VRLA and AGM), and flooded lead-acid batteries, allows for optimized charging protocols tailored to each battery type.

Accommodating Different Battery Types

In the diverse landscape of electric vehicles, accommodating different battery types is essential for flexibility and scalability. Smart charging infrastructure is designed to handle multiple battery chemistries, including lithium-ion, sealed lead-acid (VRLA and AGM) and flooded lead-acid batteries. This adaptability empowers operators to optimize charging processes for specific battery technologies, ensuring that each battery type receives the appropriate charging treatment. Consequently, battery performance is optimized, and the risk of downtime due to incompatible charging practices is mitigated.

With the ongoing advancements in battery technology, different industries may opt for specific battery chemistries based on their needs and requirements. For example, lithium-ion batteries are known for their high energy density and fast-charging capabilities, making them ideal for applications that demand frequent and rapid charging. On the other hand, sealed lead-acid batteries are more cost-effective and suitable for certain low-usage applications. Smart charging infrastructure allows businesses to seamlessly switch between different battery types, optimizing the charging process for each specific use case.

Cloud-Based Monitoring for Real-Time Insights

Cloud-based monitoring systems, such as Battview, offer invaluable real-time insights into battery charge levels and performance. Fleet managers can remotely access data on battery health, charge status and potential issues from anywhere, at any time. With this information at their fingertips, operators can make data-driven decisions to optimize charging schedules and prevent unnecessary downtime. The ability to gain live views into battery charge life equips operators with the tools needed for better planning and increased operational efficiency.

The real-time data provided by cloud-based monitoring systems enables fleet managers to keep a close eye on battery health and performance trends. With access to historical data and predictive analytics, operators can proactively address potential issues, such as declining battery capacity or abnormal charging patterns. By identifying and resolving issues before they escalate, operators can minimize the risk of unplanned downtime and associated productivity losses.

Clearing Faults Over the Air

Smart charging infrastructure's remote troubleshooting capabilities offer a significant advantage in reducing downtime. Technicians can remotely diagnose and resolve equipment faults without physically being present at the equipment location. This streamlined process saves time and resources, ensuring continuous operations without unnecessary interruptions. By addressing issues promptly, fleet managers can maintain the efficiency and reliability of their electric fleets, further minimizing downtime and maintenance costs.

Clearing faults over the air is made possible by the integration of Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud-based monitoring systems. When a fault is detected, the charger can send an automated alert to the fleet manager or technician, providing detailed information about the issue. Using remote access capabilities, the technician can then troubleshoot the problem and, if possible, resolve it without the need for an on-site visit. This remote troubleshooting approach not only reduces response times but also minimizes travel costs and downtime associated with waiting for a technician to arrive.

The Transition to Electric Vehicles

The transition from traditional combustible vehicles to electric vehicles presents numerous benefits. Electric forklifts and eGSE emit zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to a cleaner and healthier working environment. Additionally, eGSE produce less noise, creating a quieter workplace and reducing noise pollution. By embracing electric mobility, material and ground handling operations can align with sustainability goals and adhere to stringent emission regulations.

Electric vehicles also offer a unique opportunity for companies to improve their operational efficiency and reduce operational costs. The absence of fuel costs and lower maintenance requirements make electric forklifts and eGSE more cost-effective over their operational lifespan. Moreover, electric vehicles are often equipped with regenerative braking systems, which harness and store energy during braking, further contributing to energy efficiency.

Emphasizing Efficiency for Cost-Effectiveness

Efficiency in operating electric vehicles is paramount for maximizing cost-effectiveness and protecting investments. Smart charging infrastructure optimizes energy usage, reducing power consumption and lowering energy costs. By emphasizing the importance of running electric vehicles efficiently, companies can achieve long-term financial gains while contributing to a sustainable future.

Achieving efficiency in electric vehicle operations requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing both smart charging infrastructure and optimizing fleet management practices. Fleet managers can leverage cloud-based monitoring systems to gain insights into vehicle performance and battery health, allowing them to identify areas for improvement. By implementing data-driven decisions and adopting best practices, operators can optimize charging schedules, reduce unnecessary downtime and improve overall fleet performance.


Advanced charging technologies have ushered in a new era of efficiency and reliability for ground support equipment and electric forklift fleets.

By addressing common challenges, such as battery cell failures and power surges, smart charging infrastructure plays a crucial role in minimizing downtime and maximizing uptime. The integration of cloud-based monitoring systems provides real-time insights into battery health and performance, empowering operators to make data-driven decisions and optimizing fleet operations.

As the world continues to embrace electric mobility, advanced charging technologies will continue to drive the evolution of the material handling industry toward a more sustainable and efficient future. By emphasizing efficiency and proactive maintenance, operators can unlock the full potential of smart charging infrastructure and achieve long-term success in their electric fleet operations.

Aleksandra Ovchinnikova is the growth marketing manager at Advanced Charging Technologies (ACT), playing a key role in driving sustainable energy solutions. With her expertise in digital marketing and analytics, she contributes to the company's mission of promoting innovative charging technologies. Her passion for sustainability and commitment to environmental consciousness are instrumental in advancing ACT's impact in the clean energy sector.