Electric Forklift Battery Cooling

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Team Name Cool Charge
Duration 2018 - 2019
Faculty Adviser
  • Matthew Swenson
  • Matthew Harned
  • Samuel Weiss
  • Rudi Hamsa
Team Members
  • Chase Dinning
  • Trevin Kretz
  • Beau Nuxoll
  • Chris Standrey

The goal of the project is to assist in the replacement of Internal Combustion (IC) Engines with Lithium-Ion battery powered electric motors. This will be done by designing and prototyping a more efficient cooling system to eject excess heat produced by the batteries while under load.

Problem Definition[edit]


Hyster-Yale produces a variety of lifting trucks. In an effort to be more globally responsible and eco-friendly, they are working on producing a line of electric forklifts. This creates an excess of heat that needs to be removed to allow the batteries and motors to operate at optimal efficiency. With the current setup, the system is effectively operable up to an ambient temperature of approximately 30°C. However, in many locations the ambient temperature can reach 40°C.


  • Proof on Concept Prototype
    • Prototype to cost less than $1000 per unit to produce.
  • Solid Model
    • The prototype model is to be modeled in SolidWorks.
    • The model is to include a heat transfer and airflow analysis.
  • Heat transfer Calculations
    • Calculations done to represent total energy removed from the battery module under given conditions.



  • The heavy-duty cooling system should be able to remove 100 Watts of heat from each battery module.
  • The heavy-duty cooling system should cool the battery during charge/discharge at a rate of 1C.
  • The heavy-duty cooling system will replace the standard cooling system for equipment operated in ambient temperatures of up to 40.
  • The heavy-duty cooling system should be able to remove 100 Watts of heat from each battery module.
  • The cooling system is expected to maintain internal battery cell temperatures at or below 55 °C by removing heat from the batteries modules.



The cooling system needs to fit within the compartment behind the battery assembly and in front of the forklift counter weight.

  • The heavy-duty cooling system dimensions will be:
    • Height < 502 mm
    • Width < 652 mm
    • Depth < 272mm


  • The heavy-duty cooling system needs to mount in the same position as the current cooling system.
  • Cooling system components will be mounted using the same mounting hardware as the current cooling system.
  • Additional heat transfer equipment will possibly mount in the 10mm slots between battery cells.
  • The mounting system shall be able to withstand vibrations from daily equipment operation.


Cooling System Operational Specifications[edit]

  • During operation, the cooling system supply voltage shall remain at 12 Volts DC.
  • During operation, the system shall draw no more than 15 amps.
  • During operation, the system shall use no more than 180 watts.

Battery Unit Specifications[edit]

  • The individual battery voltage is 51 Volts.
  • The individual batteries are rated at 174 Amp-hours.
  • The individual battery units have a high-speed discharge rating of 350 Amps.


  • The cooling system is expected to operate in environments with ambient temperatures between -10°C and 40°C.
  • The heavy-duty cooling system shall resist water ingress, rust and corrosion on components and in connectors.
  • The system shall withstand normal equipment cleaning procedures including pressure washing.

Design Considerations[edit]

Project Learning[edit]

Final Design[edit]


Team Members[edit]

[[File: |180px|thumb|left]] Chase Dinning

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Graduation Date: May, 2019
Future Goals: Begin a career in aerospace design, ideally in the Pacific Northwest.
Email: Dinn6121@vandals.uidaho.edu

[[File: |180px|thumb|left]] Trevin Kretz

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Post Falls, Idaho
Graduation Date: May, 2019
Future Goals: Work as a research and design engineer in the Spokane area, hopefully utilizing SolidWorks skills.
Email: Kret6264@vandals.uidaho.edu

[[File: |180px|thumb|left]] Beau Nuxoll

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Clarkston, Washington
Graduation Date: May, 2019
Future Goals: Begin a career in engineering with a local manufacturing company.
Email: Nuxo2829@vandals.uidaho.edu

[[File: |180px|thumb|left]] Chris Standley

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho
Graduation Date: May, 2019
Future Goals: Work in the Sandpoint area hopefully in the Aerospace industry
Email: Stan4461@vandals.uidaho.edu

Additional Documentation[edit]

Project Schedule


Meeting Minutes




Client Interview