UPS ‘Game-Changer:’ Vertiv Launches New Lithium-Ion Products

'To get a lithium-ion UPS, it costs double what you’d have to pay for lead-acid. And that barrier has prevented lithium from getting rapid adoption in single-phase UPSes—until now,' says Vertiv’s Joe Scarci, director of offering management.

Vertiv is looking to disrupt the UPS market with the launch of new lithium-ion UPS products at a price point aimed at replacing all traditional lead-acid based UPS systems.

“The one barrier that’s prevented the rapid adoption of lithium-ion for single phase UPSes is the initial purchase price—it’s just been too expensive,” said Joe Scarci, director of offering management for Vertiv in the Americas, in an interview with CRN at XChange 2020, hosted by parent The Channel Company. “To get a lithium-ion UPS, it costs double what you’d have to pay for lead-acid. And that barrier has prevented lithium from getting rapid adoption in single-phase UPSes—until now. With the [new Liebert] PSI5 lithium-ion UPS, we’re taking that 100 percent premium and we’re going to price at a 25 percent premium over our lead-acid products. So it’s going to be a dramatic change in the market. It really is a game-changer.”

The new Liebert PSI5 is the first single-phase UPS from the Columbus, Ohio-based data center specialist available with next-generation lithium-ion batteries. The new interactive UPSes come in 1,500VA and 3,000VA capabilities and is now available for channel partners to sell throughout North America.

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To drive channel sales around the new solutions and to replace the competition, Vertiv has unveiled a trade-in program that enables customers to trade in almost any single-phase UPS—whether from Vertiv or a competitor—for discounted pricing. The program also includes free shipping and recycling of the old UPS units.

“We’re going to see a dramatic shift from this point on from lead-acid-based UPSes to lithium UPSes. So for channel partners, this is a chance to upgrade all the units out in the field, change people from what they’re currently doing to a much better solution for customers,” said Scarci. “We also have a trade-in program that’s for channel partners specifically. They can get an even bigger discount off their registration to help facilitate the phasing out of the old lead-acid UPSes and the phasing in of the new lithium UPS.”

Scarci said there are many “very compelling” advantages in Vertiv’s new Liebert PSI5 UPS line compared with other UPSes with lead-acid batteries. For example, lithium-ion batteries last at least twice as long compared with lead-acid batteries, while also performing better in higher temperatures.

“So in a lot of the edge sites you’ve got wide temperature swings, they’re not really conditioned well, and lead-acid batteries just don’t perform well at higher temperatures. Lithium-ion batteries perform much better and they don’t see any life degradation as the temperature goes up,” said Scarci. “Lithium-ion batteries also have other advantages in terms of faster recharge time [and] higher energy density so you make a really small, lightweight UPS.”

With these benefits, Scarci said channel partners can reduce the total cost of ownership for UPSes for customers by up to 50 percent. The Liebert PSI5 delivers up to 20 minutes of runtime at half load and nine minutes at full load—roughly double that of similar UPS systems—and is suited for small spaces in distributed networks.

The Liebert PSI5 comes with a five-year advanced replacement warranty, contributing to a significantly lower total cost of ownership. The products come with a battery management system that provides real-time monitoring of battery conditions and ensures reliable operations.

Backed by 20,000 employees, Vertiv has 19 manufacturing locations and more than 2,700 service field engineers with regional hubs in China, India, the U.K. and the Philippines. The data center company generated $4.3 billion in total revenue in its fiscal year 2018.

XChange 2020 is taking place in San Antonio from March 1 to March 3.