Forklift Batteries in a Pickup Conversion?

by Josh
(fargo, ND)

I am doing research on the possible conversion of 1980s to 1990s pickup truck. I pan to power with a ac motor but the main question I have is would one forklift battery supply adequate power.

I know forklift batteries are heavier but I would be removing a 460 v8 which roughly weighs 700lbs by itself. I have been looking on reconditioned battery sites and they would be cheaper than buying a bunch of 6 volts.

I found one 12 volt that weights 550lbs and has a rating of 6-100-13 and has 600 amp hrs. Also some of these batteries are rated for 6hrs or 20 hr use. Would this be a possible battery. I know its only 12 volts but its capacity and size is much larger and the vehicle could handle the weight easily. If this size battery is too small would a larger forklift battery work out if it weighted under 800lbs.

Hi, Josh -
You can use these batteries if you want. Where you'll run into problems is getting your voltage up to something useful. For example, if you need 96 volts to run your car, you'll need 8 of those 12 volt batteries at 550 pounds each. There's nothing wrong with them (well, there might be - check out the video above for what to do with bad cells), but they are just flooded lead acid or sometimes AGM or even Ni-Cad cells. I haven't seen lithium forklift batteries coming out in salvage yet.

I don't know what your budget will allow, but instead of forklift batteries, I'd be tempted to go this way instead:

This company, Greentec Auto, is selling reconditioned Nissan LEAF packs for 2800 USD. That's their 24 kwh lithium pack. The whole thing weighs about 700 pounds.

There's a company in Namie, Japan which does nothing but rebuild old LEAF packs. You can read more about them here, if you're interested.

Best of luck with your project!

- Lynne

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