Author: Anton Zhukov, OneCharge electrical engineer, uninterrupted power source (UPS) specialist.
Many new markets today, including the expanding fields of e-commerce and online services, are growing at impressive rates, especially after the pandemic dramatically altered in-person shopping and consumption habits. Some newer markets have been expanding for longer than that, however. In many parts of the world, including the US, electrification technologies and the battery manufacturing that makes them possible are booming, and in the US in particular demand for batteries is far greater than the existing supply. With demand only set to increase, companies specializing in battery tech are continuing to expand.
Founded in 2014, OneCharge is a company that develops and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for use in forklifts, including Class I, Class II, and Class III types. Although the batteries are primarily developed for forklifts used in warehouse and industrial settings, OneCharge also supplies several different industries, including the food and beverage industries, the paper and pulp industries, the distribution and logistics industries, retail, and others. Headquartered in the U.S., OneCharge’s operations serve the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Since the company’s founding, OneCharge has collaborated with prominent companies in its market space, including Toyota, Crown, and Hyster-Yale.
OneCharge manages three distinct product lines. In addition to standard batteries for forklifts and other warehouse equipment, the company also develops and manufactures a line of high-voltage batteries, as well as “Frost” batteries designed to operate at very low temperatures. Beyond lithium-ion batteries, OneCharge produces chargers for lithium-ion forklift batteries, accessories including Battery Discharge Indicators, and options like CAN integration of battery with a truck and/or a charger.
Although OneCharge was founded in 2014, it wasn’t until 2016 that the company launched its manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. At this early stage, the company offered 20 battery models, including a freezer model, and had introduced a modular system in their battery design. Production gradually expanded, and by 2017 OneCharge was producing upwards of 250 models of industrial lithium batteries. That year also saw an expansion of the company’s workforce, including the addition of multiple sales reps, as well as the implementation of a data-tracking infrastructure. OneCharge also received Hyster-Yale certification in 2017, which marked the beginning of the two companies’ subsequent collaboration.
In 2018, OneCharge continued to expand its product line, introducing nearly 200 new battery models and raising the total number of models on offer to 450. The company also began to sell accessories and product packages in 2018, while also implementing a US-wide service network. Part of this expansion included the beginning of the company’s Hyster-Yale aftermarket program, enabling batteries and other accessories to be sold through both Hyster and Yale dealer networks.
In 2019, OneCharge’s product line expanded to include 550 models. The company also received Crown equipment batteries certification in 2019, the start of another collaboration with a company in the same market. To expand production, OneCharge opened a second facility for full in-house manufacturing in 2019. The company also introduced a modular engineering design using four platforms. There were some production additions the following year, including a new battery management system (BMS) and high-current setup, but after focusing on expanding production, the company largely took a different route in 2020, expanding its sales force by adding a Brazil sales team and sales representatives in Canada.
In 2021, to help deal with growing demand, the company consolidated its operations at a new, larger manufacturing facility in Garden Grove, California. The new facility occupies just under 50,000 square feet, which will ultimately increase the company’s total manufacturing floor space when compared to its two previous locations, in Santa Ana and Irvine, combined. The move was also accompanied by an expansion of the company’s workforce — from more than 40 employees to around 60 — as well as the launch of a DATA web interface. Today, the company manufactures more than 600 models of lithium-ion electric forklift batteries.
The growth of OneCharge in recent years is part of the general innovation and growth in battery technologies and the lithium-ion batteries market, as well as an interest in more sustainable energy technologies. With its new headquarters in Garden Grove, OneCharge joins an ecosystem of battery and battery technology companies centered in Orange County, including Enevate, an Irvine-based company working on silicon li-ion batteries that can be used in electric vehicles. As demand continues to increase, we can expect these companies to continue innovating and expanding.
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