OTTAWA – Export Development Canada (EDC) and RBC are supporting Stromcore Energy Inc., a Toronto-based company producing lithium-ion battery systems adaptable to any forklift brand or class, with a USD$600,000 bonding facility.
Most of Stromcore’s sales are exports, and that’s been the case since they launched four years ago, said Stromcore chief business officer, Max Vidricaire.
“Most of our competition is from the United States, and there’s no way we’d have been able to grow to meet customer demand and remain competitive without EDC’s support,” he said.
Most forklifts currently in use run on either combustion engines or lead-acid batteries, both of which can produce byproducts potentially harmful to the environment. About 60 percent of the forklift fleet in North America is electric, but almost all of those – approximately 99 percent – are using lead-acid batteries, so there’s a lot of room for growth.
“Our mission is to make 100 percent of the forklift fleet electric and help transition the industry from lead-acid batteries traditionally used in forklifts,” said Vidricaire.
“Those batteries aren’t as efficient as lithium-ion – they don’t allow the vehicle to drive as long, taking time from the workers’ day to replace batteries – and often use metals that can be harmful to the environment.”
The hesitancy he and his colleagues have noticed from those organizations still relying on combustion engines stems primarily from the fear of lost productivity and the inability of a battery-operated forklift to keep up with demand – a real problem Vidricaire says Stromcore’s 24/7 runtime lithium-ion batteries mitigate.
“Stromcore is a fantastic example of an innovative Canadian cleantech company that has the keys to exporting success but requires some support that EDC is uniquely positioned to provide,” said Dan Mancuso, EDC’s senior vice-president of financing and investments.
“EDC is pleased to be a part of supporting Stromcore’s international growth by providing them with financial solutions they need to grow and compete globally.”