Smart-UPS Li-ion Is Here, Ready for Partners to Seize the Opportunity

APC by Schneider Electric is leading the charge in delivering UPSs with Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, creating significant opportunities for partners to increase revenue on every UPS sale while delivering numerous benefits to customers.

The first Li-ion Smart-UPS, a 1500VA model with APC SmartConnect, shipped in June while the 500, 750, and 1000VA models will launch in Q4 of 2018. This gives APC a full lineup of Li-ion-based single-phase UPSs, a claim not many competitors will be able to make.

Silicon Valley is all in with Smart-UPS Li-ion

Already, customer interest is high. We just took an order for over 100 units from a major tech company we are all familiar with, that is going to place them in the offices of top executives at its Palo Alto, CA headquarters. How’s that for a vote of confidence?

Such applications make sense because local compute power and networking is critical to business success today, for executives certainly but also for many other applications, particularly in edge IT environments where network latency and downtime severely impacts business performance.

Think about retail stores where transactions can’t be processed if the point of sale systems aren’t working. In healthcare, you’ve got doctors’ offices and hospitals where the need for data is constant, driving demand for 24×7 connectivity. Same goes for many banking and financial applications. K-12 schools and colleges today rely on Internet connectivity for day-to-day teaching and learning, which means they likewise need to ensure reliable network connections. These customers typically have numerous locations, all supported by the standard lead acid UPSs sold today. The cost of maintaining these UPSs, which includes battery and UPS replacement, freight, and labor cost, can become a burden over time, particularly when UPSs are installed in remote IT environments where the temperatures fluctuate and battery life suffers.

Introducing the benefits of Li-Ion UPSs

For all of these applications and more, Smart-UPS Li-ion models offer a number of significant benefits.

For one, the Li-ion batteries last about 10 years, giving them at least twice the usable life of lead-acid batteries. Ten years is about the life expectancy of the UPS itself, so that means customers don’t have to deal with the cost and time associated with replacing internal batteries.

All the Smart-UPS Li-ion models are “short depth”, 8 to 12.5” deep, significantly more compact than standard lead-acid UPSs. The new models will fit into all APC racks and even competitors’ racks, including wall-mount racks, which are common in edge environments.

They’re also about 30% lighter than lead acid models, which makes them easier to install and enables customers to put more IT gear in the same rack. In some instances, it may obviate the need to reinforce floors as is sometimes the case in data center installations. For partners, the smaller size and lighter weight lowers shipping and warehousing costs, while allowing you to stock more units in the same space.

Finally, our Li-ion batteries perform much better than their lead acid counterparts in the upper and lower ranges of the 0 to 40 degrees Celsius operating range. Where the upper and lower tolerances can reduce battery life and significantly impact runtime performance, Li-Ion batteries perform admirably, lasting longer and providing comparable runtimes throughout the operating range. That’s important considering many edge locations where they will be located are not fully temperature controlled. Often, they’re in a closet, for example, with little to no ventilation.

Making the sale: Li-ion has lower TCO

The key to selling Smart-UPS Li-ion models will be getting customers to understand how much lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) will be as compared to lead-acid battery UPSs.

The Li-ion UPSs do cost about twice as much as lead-acid models but the fact that customers never have to replace batteries can easily make up the difference. In the course of their 8-year life expectancy, customers have to change a lead-acid battery at least twice, even more when the UPS is in uncooled environments. That means paying not just for the battery, but for the labor involved in installing it and cost to roll the truck. That’s not to mention the downtime (and business risk) caused by the UPS being out of service. In fact, as explained in this blog post, for a 1500VA model, the lead-acid version will cost at least 47% more than a Li-ion model over 8 years. Customers recoup their Li-Ion investment in years 3 or 4 and then see strictly return on investment until refreshing their Li-Ion Smart-UPS in year 8, 9 or 10.

As a partner, you’ll get twice the revenue for every UPS you sell. And while it’s true that the UPS can last up to 10 years, you should be able to sell them for more applications than in the past because their smaller size opens up new opportunities.

Should you get any pushback about safety, you can assure customers that we source batteries only from tier 1 providers, and they all meet the UL 1973 safety standard. Check out this post for all the safety features of our Li-ion batteries.

In my view, APC Smart-UPS Li-ion models have the strongest value proposition of any product I’ve worked on in my time at APC by Schneider Electric. Every customer has had to deal with a dead UPS battery at some point, and knows the costs associated with it. Li-ion models will deliver a peace of mind factor that will resonate with your customers.

Check out our Smart-UPS Li-ion product page for more info on the new models. You can even get 450 bonus points in the APC iRewards Program for selling and registering the SKUs through the end of the year. There’s a lot to like about Li-ion.