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Toyota Trials Li-Ion Batteries at Sainsbury’s Distribution Center

British grocery chain Sainsbury’s and Toyota Material Handling UK are working together to trial lithium ion battery technology.

The two companies will be testing applications of the battery technology in one of Sainsbury’s largest distribution centers in the UK from the end of September.

The trial will include a range of warehouse equipment integral to distribution center operations including heavy-duty powered pallet trucks and horizontal order pickers. These trucks are often required to work multiple shifts, meaning battery efficiency and battery charging is at the forefront of operational planning, the companies said.

In addition to working with Sainsbury’s within its distribution centers, Toyota has also been studying the practical day-to-day usage of the equipment. The company fitted a wireless information system, part of Toyota I-Site fleet management technology, to a sample of trucks to examine truck utilization, battery charging and battery changing behavior in a practical environment.

In July, Toyota topped a poll of the world’s best green brands, by consultancy Interbrand. The automaker’s success in the Best Global Green brands 2011 was, according to Interbrand, largely down to the global presence of its “iconic” Prius hybrid car.

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