Why You Should be Considering Electric Forklifts

Updated: Nov 6, 2015

Large group of BYD electric forklifts

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Let’s face it, these days vehicle technology is changing and improving so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up with all of the advances. It wasn’t long ago we were using nickel cadmium batteries in cell phones and power tools, worrying the whole time about leaving an imprint on the battery and reducing the usable charge.

Now, we have electric cars that can travel over 420km on a single charge with the ability to replenish the battery to 80% in as little as 30 minutes! The technological advancements in zero emission automobiles far surpasses that of the internal combustion counterpart and we’ve only just scratched the surface.

The same trend is occurring in the industrial world with the growth of class 1, electric forklifts. Look back to the 1950’s and compare the forklifts used then compared to now and you’ll notice the design has changed minimally. The power systems, on the other hand, have changed dramatically.


Zero Emissions

As I mentioned yesterday, the forklift truck has sustained the same general design since its beginnings in the early 20th century. Sure, there have been minor tweaks in design over the years and new features have been developed, but overall the look remains the same. You might be thinking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but I’m going to encourage disruptive thinking so you can improve while others are at a standstill.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” - Albert Einstein

In recent history we have seen a large push to reduce emissions and minimize our effect on the planet in a number of different ways. Many companies are moving to alternative fuel sources in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet and decrease greenhouse gases. This effort can be seen not only in mobile equipment, but in all areas of a company’s operation, from electronic paperwork to biomass energy projects. More and more companies are making sustainability a top priority and a key component of their corporate responsibility.


Reduced Operating Costs

In the last article we discussed how your company will benefit from reducing the emissions generated by your mobile fleet. Your employees will be thanking you for better air quality, you will achieve far greater energy efficiency, and you can even improve your business image to you customers. But at the end of the day, if it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense and I'm going to show you how being eco-friendly can also be cost effective.

I want to be transparent with you, electric forklifts cost more upfront which can deter even the most environmentally savvy customers. But consider this fact: It is estimated that the initial purchase price of a forklift only equates to approximately 25% of the total lifetime cost to operate the machine. This means the remaining 75% is made up of fuel, maintenance, and repairs of the machine. This is where the electric forklift really starts to shine and will often show a return of investment in less than 2 years!


Increased Life Cycle

So, we know electric forklifts reduce emissions and maintenance costs, but what if I told you these benefits can be experienced for LONGER than the life of your current machines?

Think about these questions:

How often are your forklifts sitting idle while they wait for the next package to make it to the end of the out feed?

Do your operators leave their machines running during the winter to keep warm? Or in the summer to keep that AC blowing?

What about the time spent strapping a pallet, do your operators shut the machine off each and every time?


Improved Operator Comfort

Creating change around the workplace can be extremely challenging, especially when it comes to changes which will affect the daily actions of your employees. Most operators aren’t concerned with reducing emissions, decreasing costs, or a longer life span of equipment. Their main concern is how the change will affect their daily tasks and productivity by which they are measured.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” - John F. Kennedy

Forklift operators are an essential component of any business where the movement of product affects the production of a facility. No matter the operation, the operators will play an integral part of the success or failure of a change in equipment and it is extremely important to ensure their needs are met. After talking to multiple operators who have switched from internal combustion forklifts to electric, nearly all of them prefer the operation of the electric forklift, here’s why: