As recently discussed in our Milwaukee M12 Fuel brushless drills/drivers preview, the red team is coming out with new 2.0Ah compact and 4.0Ah XC extended capacity lithium-ion battery packs. These packs deliver an on-paper 33% increase in charge capacity compared to the current generation of M12 and M18 battery packs.
Milwaukee engineers described to us how they sorted through lithium ion cell after cell until they found one that gave them the best power and runtime profiles. Battery packs with these new cells are said to deliver up to 2X more run-time, 20% more speed, and 20% more torque compared to standard lithium-ion battery packs.
The marketing materials we’ve seen are a bit confusing with how they throw numbers around, but these battery packs seem to best current-gen RedLithium M12 and M18 li-ion batteries in 3 ways.
Next-Generation 2.0Ah and XC 4.0Ah Batteries vs. Current-Generation RedLithium Packs
- 2x more run-time vs. 40% more run-time compared to standard packs. Going by what we can measure, the new cells have 33% more capacity (2.0Ah vs. 1.5Ah and 4.0Ah vs. 3.0Ah), which could translate to 33% more runtime.
- Operates below 0°F/-18°C – Milwaukee has improved the cold-weather performance of the packs. Current-gen packs are only rated down to 0°F.
- Over 2X more recharges vs. up to 50% more recharges – more recharges means longer battery pack longevity and thus lower replacement costs down the road.
What Comes Next?
Milwaukee came out with an M12 band saw earlier this year and we know that an M12 rotary hammer will soon hit the market. Boosting the capacity of compact and XC battery packs greatly improves the realistic usability of heavier-duty tools like these. Higher capacity battery packs not only result in longer runtime, but they can better feed such power-hungry tools. We expect that Milwaukee engineers are already at work trying to further stretch the limits of their 12-volt and 18-volt cordless tool platforms.
It is the battery makers that have found a way to increase the power density and performance of primary lithium ion battery cells, and Milwaukee is just one of many brands that are updating their battery packs in response. As previously discussed, Metabo, Dewalt, Hitachi, and Bosch have all announced new 4.0Ah battery packs of their own.
We’ve touched upon what higher capacity next-generation battery packs might lead to, but thus far Milwaukee is the only brand to announce higher capacity 12-volt and compact 18-volt battery packs. To date Milwaukee is still the only brand with double-capacity 12-volt packs. This definitely gives them an edge in the 12-volt arena but 2.0Ah packs also mean an advantage for their compact 18-volt tools.
There is fierce competition in the compact drill and driver market, and 2.0Ah compact 18-volt packs can potentially give Milwaukee a strong edge in terms of runtime and power, especially when coupled with their new Fuel brushless drills and drivers.
New REDLITHIUM™ 2.0/XC4.0 Model Numbers
M12™ REDLITHIUM™ 2.0 (48-11-2420)
M12™ REDLITHIUM™ XC4.0 (48-11-2440)
M18™ REDLITHIUM™ 2.0 (48-11-1820)
M18™ REDLITHIUM™ XC4.0 (48-11-1840)
Release Date: ~Winter 2012