Adaptalift Hyster examines the pros and cons of electric forklifts in this article as part of their forklift fuel type series.
Batteries or fuel cells are used to power electric forklifts by providing power to their DC or AC-type electric motors.
Electric forklifts are ideal for working indoors or in cold climates involving freezers or cold storage or even food processing.
Since electric forklifts do not emit fumes, they do not raise the temperature in the area of operation.
However, electric forklifts are not suitable for outdoor applications where they may be exposed to rain or snow as these weather elements can cause the machine to short-circuit.
Electric forklifts are generally fitted with cushion tyres making them suitable only for hard surfaces such as concrete.
Key advantages of electric forklifts:
- Environment-friendly, emission-free machines
- Suitable for small spaces and indoor environments
- Longer life span compared to other types of forklifts
- Cheaper fuel consumption over gas/diesel alternatives
- Lower noise level helps with better communication amongst workers
- Greater manoeuvrability
- Low centre of gravity facilitates more stability at greater lift heights
- Simple and user-friendly controls
- Mechanically simple with no transmission or torque converter
Key disadvantages of electric forklifts:
- 8-hour battery charging period followed by another 8 hours of cooling before re-use
- Expensive extra batteries are required to minimise downtime caused by battery charging
- Takes 10 - 45 minutes to swap over a battery
- Well-ventilated, dry and temperature-controlled battery charging station space measuring at least 200m² is required
- Not appropriate for outdoor use, especially in wet weather
Electric forklift batteries last for roughly five years if maintained properly. Batteries are expensive to replace and battery chargers use 3-phase power, which may not be available in many buildings.