Snorkel starts production of its first-ever lithium-ion battery access platforms

The SL26RTE and SL30RTE Speed Level models are fully emission-free with built-in battery management and electric power trains that reduce running costs by up to 95%

Global powered access major Snorkel has announced that it has commenced full production of two new lithium-powered Speed Level access platform models at its UK assembly facility.

Snorkel initially previewed the new models, branded as the Snorkel SL26RTE and SL30RTE, at Bauma 2019 and has now put them into full production at its Washington, Tyne & Wear, assembly plant in the UK.

According to Snorkel, the machines are completely zero emission, thanks to lithium-ion battery packs with a built-in battery management system (BMS), and an integrated electric powertrain developed with Hyperdrive Innovation, a Sunderland, UK-based developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

A statement from Snorkel said that the electric Speed Level models are available to order with a choice of lithium-ion battery pack configurations to suit a range of applications, including a high capacity option for long distance driving and tunnel work.

John Gill, chief manufacturing officer, Snorkel, said: “We are pleased to have signed an official supply agreement with Hyperdrive Innovation, with whom Snorkel has worked closely to develop a stable electric powertrain that can deliver the reliability and performance that our customers require. Following very positive feedback to our preview at Bauma, the design has undergone thorough testing, both in concept and in field evaluations, and we are confident that these models will exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Snorkel says the maintenance-free lithium-ion battery packs reduce running costs by up to 95% when compared to an engine and are shown to last up to 20 times longer than lead acid batteries. The manufacturer adds that the low voltage system is easily serviced, without the need for specialist high voltage training, and has been tested in climatic chambers between -25°C and +60°C. The zero emission, lithium-ion batteries also deliver significantly less jobsite noise. For example, at less than 68dB, the new SL26RTE is 60% quieter than the existing Snorkel SL26SL.

Fitted with a 2.5kWh 50A battery charger, the battery packs can be fully charged in less than six hours, at a significantly lower cost than the diesel equivalent.

Stephen Irish, founder and commercial director at Hyperdrive Innovation, said: “It’s been fantastic to partner with Snorkel on their first lithium-ion battery powered machines. To have the opportunity to collaborate with another progressive and forward-thinking business that is at the forefront of their industry is testament to our capabilities and a great example of the wave of clean growth being driven by changing legislation internationally. We are delighted to secure the contract to supply the SL26RTE and SL30RTE with the very latest Hyperdrive battery technology and working to a demanding timeline. It has been a pleasure to support Snorkel to take these initial concept vehicles through the development cycle and into production.”

The Snorkel SL26RTE delivers a maximum platform height of 8m, a lift capacity of 680kg and a 1.72m-by-4.6m platform with the 0.91m roll-out deck extension deployed. The SL26RTE weighs 3.5t and, available with non-marking tyres, is ideal for all types of indoor and outdoor applications, says Snorkel. The larger SL30RTE can reach a maximum platform height of 9m, lifting a maximum platform capacity of 590kg. Drivable at full height, the SL30RTE has a fixed platform of 1.72m x 4.23m and weighs 3.45t.

Both models share the same four-wheel drive performance, 50% gradeability and self-levelling capabilities without stabilisers up to 9° front to rear, and 13° side to side, as the original diesel-powered Snorkel SL26SL and SL30SL which are also still available.  As of January 1, 2020, the SL26SL and SL30SL models will be rebranded as the SL26RT and SL30RT.

The lithium Speed Level assembly line was officially opened this week by Snorkel CEO, Matthew Elvin, during a visit from Snorkel’s Scandinavian distributors to Vigo Centre.


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