Out at Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) Riverside Energy Resource Center (RERC) state-of-the-art is the norm.

The power plant facility features four, 49 megawatt (MW) natural gas fired turbine engines (similar to what powers a 747 jetliner), employs highly skilled personnel (many who have military backgrounds and jet engine maintenance training), and features technology that allows RPU to start one or all four RERC units within 10 minutes locally or remotely from the Power Resources headquarters downtown to provide up to 192 MW of power for RPU energy customers.

Now the 16-acre facility has begun using state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technology in its work carts. “Over the last two years, our site and our staff have grown,” said RPU’s Generation Manager Chuck Casey. “To help us get around the complex, move parts, tools, and personnel, we started purchasing old golf cars.”

While the seven cars in RERC’s current fleet have greatly helped with efficiency around the plant, the issues of storing, maintaining, and constantly charging the cars’ lead-acid batteries quickly became the biggest costs to operating them.

Seeking alternatives to provide a cleaner, greener, and easier way to maintain the work cars, Utilities Generation Test Technician Johnny “Sonny” Voytilla and Utilities Senior Generation Test Technician William Patton ended up contacting Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. out of San Diego.

Lithium Boost’s patented technology provides a complete performance optimized lithium-ion battery system that retrofits older, lead-acid batteries in low-speed cars with state-of-the-art equipment.

“Since retrofitting our first two carts last month, we’ve already seen the benefits,” Casey said. Those include: no maintenance, the Lithium Boost system doesn’t require water filling; longer range and slower discharge, carts are now charged every other week instead of daily saving on electricity costs; and greater safety, as there are two less cords that present tripping hazards and two less sets of batteries full of sulfuric acid.

“We are very pleased that Riverside Public Utilities has selected our product to retrofit their carts with,” said Lithium Boost Technologies’ CEO Sam Lev.

“In addition to the higher performance levels our products provide, RPU will also enjoy the environmental aspects of maintaining a lean and green electrical car fleet,” Lev said.

According to Lev, Lithium Boost’s batteries have a smaller footprint, last about 4 times longer than lead-acid (over 2,000 charging cycles), are four times lighter, and use 40 percent less electricity. They also feature a “fuel gauge” meter that can tell staff how much battery power is left.

“It is great that Will and Sonny did the leg work to find a technology that provides us with such an increase in performance while adding the types of environmental benefits we embrace, encourage, and promote as an energy utility,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.

For additional information on Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. products visit www.lithiumboost.com. For additional information on RPU, call us at (951) 826-5485 or log on to RiversidePublicUtilities.com.