The global forklift market is expanding, with a range of models being developed to meet specific industry needs. This is good news for forklift customers, as it becomes easier to find a solution that perfectly suits your needs. However, it can also make buying decisions much more complex and difficult for you.
When it comes to purchasing a forklift, one decision you’ll likely have to make is whether you need one with an internal combustion engine or an electric forklift. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to examine your personal situation to determine which suits you best.
This blog post is designed to help you assess your own situation and determine which type is the right choice for you and covers a variety of factors that might affect your decision, including:
- Your budget
- Environment you’ll use the forklift in
- Amount of use
- Environmental impact
We’ll also explore the different kinds of electric forklift trucks available, so you can make the most informed choice.
Why should I get an electric forklift?
As technology advances so does the world around it, and that’s no different for industries that rely on heavy lifting. Warehouses, construction sites, and the like once considered electric forklifts to just be an inefficient alternative to those powered by internal combustion engines. But, now that the technology used to power electric forklifts has advanced, it is becoming a much more attractive solution for all kinds of businesses for their material handling needs.
Statistics of forklift orders
Just 10 years ago, orders of internal combustion forklifts far outweighed those of electric ones, but this has changed. Battery electric units have now surpassed combustion engines for forklifts, and the popularity of electric forklifts continues to grow. The figure below shows that 58% of orders in Australia were for electric forklifts in 2014 with this growing to 62% in 2015.
What are the benefits of electric forklifts?
So, why are companies becoming increasingly attracted to electric forklifts? Let’s look at some of the benefits of choosing electric over other forklift types.
1. Lower running costs
Although electric forklifts are generally more expensive to buy, they are also around 30 – 35% cheaper to maintain. This equates to cost savings over the lifetime of the forklift. We’ve calculated the lifetime costs of LPG vs. electric forklifts based on an average lifespan of five years. The results show an average saving of $43,250 over the five-year lifespan of the electric forklift over the LPG, taking into consideration initial price, service costs, and the price for refuelling or recharging the forklift.
2. Good manoeuvrability
Electric forklifts are more compact vehicles with a smaller chassis and a lower centre of gravity. This makes them better suited for use in smaller spaces compared to other types. Their improved manoeuvrability means they are easy to navigate around narrow aisles and tight corners in warehouses, for example.
3. Reduced noise
Electric forklifts produce significantly less noise than those operating on internal combustion. This helps to improve working conditions and reduces the risk of hearing damage in employees. The reduction in noise also benefits neighbouring houses, offices, and other buildings who might otherwise be affected by the noise, which can especially be a problem in residential areas.
4. Fewer maintenance requirements
Electric forklifts are made up of fewer components than internal combustion units. This means that routine maintenance of the forklift is less complicated and tends to result in the benefit of longer service intervals. This equates to lower costs and less time spent on maintenance over time. Electric forklifts generally benefit from a longer lifespan than engine powered machines, although the battery will need replacing every 5 – 7 years.
5. Environmentally friendly
Compared to the use of diesel or petrol, the electricity required for battery powered forklifts produces significantly less carbon emissions and waste. This means your company can reduce its carbon footprint without compromising on the functionality and practicality of its equipment.
What are the different types of electric forklifts?
If you’ve decided that an electric forklift is right for you, then there are plenty of options available at Fork Force to meet your needs.
Electric counterbalance forklift
Most commonly used for indoor purposes, counterbalance forklifts are easy to operate and manoeuvre about small aisles and tight spaces. Their dual forks make for effective lifting and transportation of heavy loads.
We have a range of new and used battery counterbalance forklifts available either to buy or hire. Our three-wheel options offer even greater manoeuvrability for use in small spaces. With so much on offer, you can pick the size of forklift that suits your needs, depending on the weight of the loads. With additional accessories available our electric counterbalance forklifts can handle loads from 1000kg up to 4.5 tonnes.
Electric pallet truck
Electric pallet trucks are an efficient solution for your handling needs and are the most popular machine for material handling in Australia. These are ideal for transporting pallets and other loads about warehouses, retail stores, and storage facilities. They’re small and compact, making them perfect for manoeuvring tight spaces, but still pack a punch required to carry heavy loads upwards of 1.3 tonnes.
A wide range of electric pallet trucks are available from Fork Force, with brands such as Enforcer, Crown, Linde, and BT for sale or hire. You’ll find an electric pallet truck to suit your needs, with both pedestrian and stand-on versions available.
Electric reach trucks
For warehouses and other storage facilities where goods might need loading and unloading from high shelves, electric pallet trucks might not offer the reach that you need. In these circumstances, industrial reach trucks are a better solution for your material handling needs. Industrial reach forklift trucks have an extended lift height to reach pallets and other materials at height.
Our range of battery electric reach trucks will help you find the right machine for your requirements, with load capacities ranging between 1 and 2 tonnes. Find the right new or used reach forklift truck to buy or rent from Fork Force.
Find your electric forklift
Now that you see the advantages using an electric forklift can offer you over diesel or petrol alternatives, it’s time to take the next step and find the right unit for you. Fork Force boasts a 1000-strong fleet of forklifts to buy or hire across Australia.