For decades, internal combustion engine forklifts have dominated market share in North America. Over the last five years or so, that is changing, for many reasons. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of switching to electric forklifts from internal combustion, which are:
- Reduced fuel costs
- Longer forklift useful life
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Improved ergonomics for the operator
- Zero emissions in the facility
In fact, electric forklift now count for 65% of the North American market share of new forklift sales. Recent years have seen dramatic improvements in:
- Electric motor technology and performance
- Charging technology, particularly fast-charging systems
- Outdoor performance and durability
- Increases in maximum capacities of electric forklifts
One of the big advancements has come by way of fast charging technology. Conventional charging means multiple batteries for each forklift as it would take 8 to 10 hours to charge a batter, then 6 to 8 hours to rest and cool, then discharging during a regular 8 hour shift. However with new fast charging technologies, electric forklifts are often able to remain productive with a single battery. Fast charging stations are placed throughout the facility where operators take breaks, this allows for fast charging during non-productive times.
In addition smart charging systems are truly that, smart; they recognize the type of battery being used in order to charge it safely and efficiently. In addition, many smart charging systems feature automatic watering and equalization capabilities. This ensures cell balance and proper battery care, keeping the battery within manufacturer’s recommended conditions and validating the warranty.
Recent studies of electric forklifts vs their internal combustion counterparts have revealed dramatic savings. With increased useful life, reduced maintenance and fuel costs one study showed that a fleet savings of over $200,000 by switching to electric forklifts. But electric forklifts are not for everyone just yet. Be sure to consult with professionals that understand electric forklifts, charging systems, their benefits and limitations.
Contact us to speak with one of our fleet professionals about the viability of electric forklifts for your application.