What should we choose for new forklift? It is very much the debate of our time. Internal Combustion (IC) or Li-ion battery power.
When it comes to the cars we drive, it certainly seems like the batteries have won. With fossil fuel cars being banned in Australia from 2035 if the government meets its target. However, what if we are looking at warehouse trucks and material handling equipment?
Regardless of whether you’re thinking about new reach trucks, electric forklifts or vertical order pickers, it’s important to consider all of the elements, from day-to-day running costs to operating environment and maintenance. Why should we switch to lithium powered forklifts? So, Let’s begin.
Sustainability is not just a buzzword, it’s at the core of the values that so many companies are now building their businesses on. Lithium batteries make your warehouse fleet more environmentally friendly than Internal Combustion.
And we’re not just talking about the environment throughout the world. Within your warehouse, diesel fumes can be a big problem. Proper ventilation and awareness are needed in order to ensure that warehouse equipment that runs on diesel is not affecting the health of staff working around them.
Lithium battery-powered material handling equipment will be quieter and produce no emissions, making the day to day working environment for your team cleaner, more comfortable and potentially more productive as a result. Removing your team’s exposure to fumes and excessive noise can reap many rewards, particularly when it comes to indoor use.
When it comes to upfront costs for like-for-like quality, it’s to be expected that the initial investment required for a battery-operated vehicle will be higher than that of an IC equivalent. This is primarily a result of having to pay for the battery and charger.
However, this is balanced out by the reduced operating costs associated with battery power. There’s no demand for the ever more expensive diesel/gas needed to fill the tank. This cheaper charge versus filling the tank with fuel/gas has been one of the main drivers for electric forklift uptake amongst our customers. Once they have invested in the forklifts, the running costs are far lower than for IC forklifts.
An often-overlooked benefit of electric though is the reduced maintenance cost. It’s human nature to expect new technology to be more difficult and expensive to maintain and look after. However, this really isn’t the case with electric vehicles, whether in the consumer or warehouse sector. There’s no clutch or gearbox to maintain with an electric vehicle for a start. There are far fewer moving parts at all in fact and those that there are come under far less pressure than they do in a combustion engine.
In general, an electric forklift will be more compact than its diesel counterpart. It will be easier to manoeuvre, particularly in small, tight areas and demand less of the driver or operator. By contrast, a diesel warehouse truck is going to be bigger and heavier and take up much more room in both operation and storage inside the warehouse.
In summary, comparing to IC forklifts:
- It is cheaper to maintain, the service cost is about half of that for a gas/diesel forklift, much less moving parts
- Reduce the energy bill by estimated 80%
- No labour required for replacing gas bottle
- No pollution, no fumes
- Increased OHS level for staff
- smaller space to operate