Switching from an Internal Combustion Forklift to an Electric Forklift

electric forklift

ProLift is your expert for Toyota electric forklifts. Contact us for details! CONTACT PROLIFT

Historically, internal combustion (IC) forklifts have dominated the manufacturing industry. Although electric forklifts provided cleaner emissions and low level noise, companies faced decreased production and struggled to justify the higher costs of batteries and charging stations.

Today the electric forklift rivals the production of an IC forklift, matching or exceeding the alternative’s performance. Its reduction in maintenance requirements and the improved battery charging technology also offers a cost-savings in fuel, especially for companies with 10+ units in their forklift fleet.

Electric Forklift versus IC Forklift

Fuel Cost-Savings

The initial investment of a battery and charger for an electric forklift is higher; however, the battery represents the needed fuel over 3-5 years, depending on the forklift application and number of shifts. Other than the energy costs to charge the battery, which are minimal, there’s no need for continued purchases of fuel.

To best compare your cost-savings from LPG or diesel fuel to battery, partner with your forklift dealer and their battery manufacturer. Fuel consumption will be determined by factors such as the size of the forklift fleet, number of shifts and actual run-time. Usage is translated into Cost per Kilowatt Hour (CPKH) to show the expected return on investment (ROI) for the switch to electric forklifts.

Reduced Maintenance & Emissions

Using a battery for power eliminates major components such as an engine, radiator and transmission; therefore, an electric forklift is not vulnerable to repairs and replacement of these more expensive parts. Oil and transmission fluids are also unnecessary, resulting in no waste or disposal. And while toxic emissions continue to be a large problem for IC forklifts, zero pollution is produced by an electric forklift.

Opportunity Charging

Whereas LPG or diesel fuel must be stored in a designated area, electric forklifts do not rely solely on large charging stations that take up valuable storage space in the warehouse. Battery technology has improved, allowing for opportunity charging. These charging stations can be located in small areas convenient to forklift operators. Batteries may then be charged during breaks, lunches, between shifts and overnight.

Making the switch from IC to electric forklifts is a big decision with many factors to consider. For companies with a mid-size fleet, the reduced maintenance and fuel purchases due to an electric forklift fleet can provide ample cost-savings.

Thinking about switching your fleet to electric forklifts? Contact ProLift to schedule an onsite visit with an equipment specialist to learn your expected return on investment!

Schedule Visit


Resource Center Articles

purchasing a forklift

Forklifts and LP Gas Storage

A large percentage of forklifts operated in the U.S. are fueled by LP, also known as liquefied petroleum. LP gas is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases, primarily propane and butane. One gallon of LP gas is equivalent to 270 gallons of vapor; therefore, an 8 gallon cylinder of LP gas has a capacity of […]

forkllift weather precautions

Forklift Precautions in Cold Weather

With cold weather come additional hazards for forklift operation. During the winter season we must stay alert to factors such as temperature, snow, sleet, ice, etc. Slips & Falls Outside is cold. Inside is warm. For a forklift operating in both areas, these changes in temperature will cause condensation to form on the forklift. Operators […]

Toyota 3-Wheel Electric Forklift Image

Electric Forklift Motor

A motor is a device that converts electro-chemical energy, provided by an industrial battery, into mechanical energy. An electric forklift motor must provide motion for the unit – forward, reverse, up and down – as well as power other items such as hydraulic pumps and electrical components. Rule of Magnetism The basic principle behind electric […]