For a few years, the number of electric forklifts sold has exceeded that of thermal forklifts. Behind this market trend lie various factors, particularly that of the operating cost compared to the initial cost of acquisition. But what criteria should you base yourself on in your situation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of engine?
To help you in your choice, we answer in this article your questions to choose between electric and thermal front forklifts. Electric forklifts have evolved and have become increasingly more popular than gas. Its batteries require less maintenance, and their use is no longer limited to indoor use only.
So which one is better, an electric or fuel forklift? Let’s go over the pros and cons of each!
Pros of an Electric Forklift
- Generally speaking, electric forklifts have a longer life than internal combustion engine (ICE) forklifts. This is because electric forklifts have far fewer moving components than ICE forklifts.
- The electric hoist also requires less maintenance, has zero exhaust emissions, which means a working environment cleaner and safer for your staff.
- Maximum autonomy, availability, and productivity thanks to Li-Ion (lithium-ion) batteries which now allow them to compete with thermal trucks.
- Lastly, an electric forklift is also much quieter. It offers a reduction of noise and noise emissions in the warehouse. This can also be beneficial for the comfort and safety of your employees.
Cons of An Electric Forklift
- Electric forklifts are more expensive by far than forklift fuel. That said, the cost of ownership is lower in the long run.
- To perform maneuvers with an electric forklift, you must be careful to charge the battery at night. Batteries generally need to be charged for eight hours to power the forklift for a full working day. Therefore, forgetting to recharge it could have serious consequences.
- Quick-charge systems and spare batteries are now available and are a good choice for multi-shift operations. However, changing the batteries is a serious operation that requires certain criteria to be performed correctly and trained personnel.
Pros of a Fueled Forklift
- Fueled forklifts have a lower initial cost by about 10-25% if you want it for purchase. Plus, unlike electric forklifts, your productivity never has to suffer because someone forgot to recharge the battery last night. Just add a little gas or diesel, and you’re good to go.
- They are robust, powerful: frequent use outdoors as a cart suitable for uneven floors and difficult travel conditions
Cons of A Fueled/Gas Forklift
- Like a gasoline car, a fueled forklift requires engine maintenance. They have higher operational costs (maintenance, increasingly higher fuel costs, especially in the future, etc.).
- The forklift fuel cannot be used indoors, while the LP gas is an option, but with some limitations. In addition, in some material handling environments, you must use electric forklifts.
Hybrid Forklifts: a Good Compromise
Hybrid-powered forklifts are a very good compromise between thermal and electric forklifts. They combine the advantages of possible outdoor use with high availability and long-range while reducing carbon emissions.
Once you have reviewed the pros and cons of each type, you may ask yourself the following questions:
What is the Design of Your Workplace?
A fueled forklift is not the right choice if you need a forklift for an indoor work area with little ventilation. Here, you would have to set aside all the pros and cons and think about your employees’ health and safety. In addition, the noise they produce becomes an additional hazard for indoor work areas. In such a case, an electric forklift is a wiser option.
How experienced are your employees?
You also need to consider your staff’s training, skills, and experience with one option over the other. If you’re planning to buy an electric forklift, which is new to your employees, do not forget to factor in their training time and cost.
Consider the maintenance factor, which is easier in fueled forklifts. Electric ones, on the other hand, need to be charged. If the staff forgets to charge the equipment, it can cause serious productivity problems.
Consider Your Long-term Budget Limitations
Electric forklifts are expensive at the time of purchase, but their costs are lower in the long term. In contrast, fueled ones may be cheaper to buy, but their long-term maintenance costs are higher. In addition, electric forklifts may show compromised performance in extreme cold weather conditions. The lack of the drive and torque required to accomplish certain tasks may lead to serious performance issues.
The right choice of forklifts to work will depend on the type of work to be performed. It also depends on your budget and the access to the energies required for the operation, whether you have access to electricity and batteries replacement or the type of fuel needed in your workplace.
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So, for Caterpillar parts in Fort Lauderdale, do not hesitate to contact Pantropic Power!