Lithium-ion Batteries in UPSs Bring Lots of Benefits to Customers – and Opportunity to Partners

APC by Schneider Electric partners should expect to hear lots of questions from customers in coming months about Lithium-ion batteries in uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) – so you need to be ready with answers, all of which will come as good news to customers.

APC will soon be coming out with single-phase Smart-UPS  models based on Li-ion batteries, joining the Li-ion battery options that are already shipping for the 3-phase Symmetra MW, Galaxy 7000, and Galaxy VM UPSs. Partners would do well to get up to speed on Li-ion because the technology offers some great benefits for customers while presenting new UPS deployment opportunities, which means more sales for partners.

Previous posts on the customer-facing Schneider Electric blog site have detailed the benefits of Li-ion technology as compared to valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries, including this post from 2015. Essentially the benefits can be summed up as follows:

  • Double the battery life as compared to VRLA
  • Simplified maintenance
  • A roughly 30% reduction in weight
  • 50% to 75% smaller footprint
  • Improved management capabilities, including embedded management at the cell, module and cabinet levels, leading to predictable, consistent performance and battery health
  • The ability to operate at higher temperatures without sacrificing battery life – up to 40° C (104° F)
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as compared to VRLA-based UPSs

While you may think that doubling the battery life means fewer battery sales, and less revenue, that is not likely to be the case. For one thing, Li-ion batteries cost more up-front as compared to VRLA batteries, which means more revenue for you on the initial sale.

What’s more, their smaller size, lower weight and ability to withstand higher temperatures without power loss means Li-ion-based UPSs are suitable for more use cases than previous generations. In short, customers will buy more of them.

Examples of use cases for Li-ion-based Smart-UPS devices include:

  • Point-of-sale and back-office systems:UPSs can help retailers, restaurants and the like avoid outages in their POS systems due to utility power issues, including brownouts, voltage spikes and outages, providing peace of mind.
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs):You’ve probably encountered an ATM that’s not working for one reason or another; it’s frustrating, to say the least. While a UPS can’t stock the ATM with cash, it can protect it from outages due to power outages or failures. And there area lot of ATMs out there.
  • Embedded products:We are squarely in the Internet-of-things (IoT) era, which means just about anything may have a sensor in it that’s sending valuable information – so long as it has power. Li-ion can extend protection to everything from vending machines to medical devices to smart home systems, and more – lots more.

As noted on this Li-ion web page, a simple way to get customers interested in Li-ion is to ask these four questions:

  • Are you tired of battery replacement needs?
  • Have you encountered unexpected battery failures?
  • Are you ready to lower your TCO?
  • Have you noticed significant runtime degradation over time or due to high temperatures?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions, Smart UPS with Li-ion technology may well be a viable solution.

To learn more about Li-ion, download the free white paper,  “Battery Technology for Single Phase UPS Systems: VRLA vs. Li-ion.” Get up to speed on Li-ion and you’ll be prepared to educate customers on this exciting new UPS technology.