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Material Handling Insights

Mar 30, 2022 7:45:00 PM // 7 min read

6 Key Advantages of Electric-Powered Forklift Trucks

By Marcus Turner
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Battery of an electric forklift truck

Over the past few years, there has been a change in the type of equipment companies use for their material handling operations. Looking to replace internal combustion (IC) engines, or be used alongside them, electric-powered forklift trucks are becoming a firm favourite. From offering high efficiency and versatility to environmental consciousness and a lower TCO (total cost of ownership), electric engines come with a wide range of advantages.

If you’re considering investing in a new machine or fleet and have your sights set on an alternative to diesel or gas-powered vehicles, you can expect to experience a wide range of advantages.

Read on to explore 6 key advantages of electric-powered forklifts.

1. Environmentally-conscious

Electric-powered forklifts dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. In fact, they produce zero emissions which significantly minimises your environmental impact. This is a highly important factor to consider when you think about the current condition of the planet and focus on operating in a more sustainable way.

It’s not just the health of the planet that benefits, here. With no exhaust fumes or toxic gases lingering in an enclosed area, electric forklifts are also healthier for the operator and those working in the immediate environment, too.

Electric-powered forklifts use lithium-ion (Li-ion) or lead-acid batteries. Both of these battery types are rechargeable, offering a 30% increase in energy efficiency. And, as the name states, lead-acid batteries are mostly comprised of lead which can be recycled.

Sustainable solutions are a growing priority for a lot of people and organisations in today’s current climate, and moving towards electric-powered vehicles is a step in the right direction.

Related read: Forklift Battery Charging Station Power Requirements Explained

2. Reduced noise pollution

Electric vehicles emit less noise than traditional internal combustion engines, making your general operations much quieter. A quieter environment allows operators to communicate with each other with greater ease and also reduces the risk of injury. Believe it or not, when used day-in-day-out, the loud noises of a traditional engine have the potential to cause headaches, stress and fatigue – these are just the short-term effects. Long-term exposure to loud noises in the likes of a warehouse or factory can lead to hearing damage or even permanent loss.

Machines like TCM’s 3 & 4 Wheel 48V electric counterbalance forklift truck, the FB/FTB14-20(L)-E3, have a low-noise gearbox, improving the auditory conditions for both drivers and those around them.

3. Versatile

Electric-powered forklifts can be used both indoors and outdoors. The zero-emission advantage of electric trucks means that they emit no fumes, making them a perfect addition to warehouses and factories alike. They’re also highly manoeuvrable – their small chassis enables a compact turning radius and makes the navigation of tight spaces like warehouse aisles seamless.

Whilst internal combustion (IC) engine forklift trucks are, overall, more suitable for outdoor use, electric vehicles are rugged and have progressed significantly over the years, making them highly stable and efficient when operating outdoors. They are also optimised for all weather conditions as many vehicles are fitted with a closed cab, heating, air conditioning and additional lights that illuminate the vehicle, its surroundings and loads. High-quality lighting gives operators a clear line of sight and full awareness when positioning and loading, and helps to ensure people in the vicinity are aware of the truck’s presence.

Related read: How Our Electric Counterbalance Range Ensures Operator Safety

4. Ergonomic design

  • Health, safety, and comfort. These are three factors that are necessary for operators to feel happy and confident at work. Compared to alternative trucks, electric forklifts offer operators a higher quality driving experience which works to reduce downtime, optimises efficiency, and improves the happiness of your workforce.

    Many electric-powered vehicles are now equipped with top-notch ergonomic controls such as:
    - Spring-force-optimised fingertip hydraulic controls
    - Adjustable armrests to ensure perfect anatomical support and free movement
    - Pedals that are positioned and angled to reduce fatigue, regardless of a driver’s height or foot size
    - Floating steering wheels with adjustable height and rotation angle for improved posture
    - Thumbwheel throttle for better speed control

    The ergonomic features of electric vehicles allow you to handle loads of all different sizes and configurations with ease. These vehicles also give off fewer vibrations and have enhanced braking systems, too. The ergonomic features of electric-powered forklifts increase the safety of operators, equipment, loads, and those in the surrounding environment.

    Related read: The New Electric-Powered LLR Stand-in Pallet Truck


5. Less maintenance

With fewer mechanical components, electric trucks require less maintenance, are easier and cheaper to maintain. They don’t require regular fluid refills – like coolants and engine oil and are less likely to break down than diesel or gasoline-powered vehicles.

Less maintenance also means reduced operating costs and increased uptime which works to improve your overall total cost of ownership (TCO).

6. Reduced TCO

Overall, electric material handling equipment is more cost-effective than its gas or diesel-powered counterpart. The upfront cost must be noted, but the long-term cost savings garnered are significant and cannot be overlooked. Not only that, electric forklifts have a much longer lifespan.

As with many companies, fuel efficiency is likely a primary consideration of yours. An efficient operation reduces fuel costs and downtime, as well as your environmental impact. Electric-powered vehicles have the advantage of not requiring fuel, which means no fuel costs, time-consuming refills, or expensive air ventilation equipment. Additionally, as mentioned above, electric-powered machines require minimal part replacements and maintenance, which significantly reduces operating costs.

Are you ready for 2030? Take a look at this electrification readiness checklist to discover 5 ways to plan and prepare for the future.

Of course, you have to account for the initial cost of the vehicle – which is typically higher than those powered by propane, however, they work out significantly more cost-effective in the long run. You have to budget for installing charging stations for the vehicles but, once installed, electricity is cheaper, more efficient to administer than fuel and offers countless advantages.

Are you thinking about changing up, or adding to your forklift fleet?

In today’s current climate, expanding or changing your material handling equipment comes with a range of considerations. Arguably, one of the most important things to take into account is sustainability. Electric-powered forklift trucks have the huge benefit of significantly improving your carbon footprint by emitting zero emissions. Additionally, their advanced range of ergonomic features and overall improved TCO, make electric-powered vehicles a great option for those looking for a vehicle that is agile, intelligent, durable, cost-effective and contributes to bettering the world in which we live.

We’re dedicated to helping you achieve your business goals. If you have any questions or would like some advice about choosing the right forklift for your material handling operations, we’re here to offer up our professional advice. Get in touch with your local TCM dealer today.

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