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Electric Forklifts Vs Diesel Forklifts: Which One To Choose?

A forklift is an industrial vehicle with a motorised platform at the front. It has a fork that can be raised/lowered and inserted underneath the load for lifting and moving purposes. Forklifts can be powered by internal combustion engines or batteries.

 

There are forklift variants that allow the operator to sit down while driving the vehicle, while there are other forklift variants that require the driver to stand up (stand-up forklift). Forklifts are generally used for the transport of goods and materials.

 

Applications

The primary factor in how to choose the right forklift is the specifics of your site and your intended application. You must consider whether the forklift will be working indoors or outdoors, whether it will be working on smooth floors or rough terrain, as well as the lift heights and types of products or materials involved.

 

What is your typical lifting height?

What is the highest point the forklift needs to reach?

Are there any height restrictions to consider (e.g. ceiling beams or low hanging lights)?

 

6 Ton Diesel Forklifts

6 Ton Diesel Forklift

 

You must also consider the folding height of the mast, especially if you need the forklift to move under a fixed height structure, such as a garage or container door. Also, check your warehouse height and aisle width requirements as this will greatly assist you in finding the right forklift.

 

Fuel type

There are two fuel options for forklift trucks: electric and internal combustion engines.

 

Electric

Electric forklifts are powered by large, heavy-duty lead-acid batteries, which typically provide enough power for a standard eight-hour shift or approximately five to six hours of continuous use. The two biggest advantages of this system are that it produces zero emissions, if forklift operation indoors is necessary, and is very economical in terms of fuel.

 

Advantages of electric forklifts

The cost per hour of operation of the electric model is much lower compared to any internal combustion lift truck. That said, the upfront cost of an electric forklift is higher compared to a combustion model - between 20% and 40% higher. Depending on the efficiency of the charger you use and the cost of electricity in your area, a standard industrial battery can cost around $3 per charge to recharge.

 

Electric forklifts will cost more initially, but over time you will reap the rewards as they have a longer lifespan and are cheaper to consume than other types of forklift. They do not produce emissions and are therefore recommended for indoor or cold climate work. Electric forklifts are also quiet, making them ideal for warehouses and other indoor use. However, time needs to be set aside for battery charging.

 

Electric forklifts are also easy to move and have a long service life, but the operating and maintenance costs are usually higher than diesel and gas models.

 

10 Ton Diesel Forklift

10 Ton Diesel Forklift

Internal Combustion

Internal combustion (IC) engines use a variety of fuels including gasoline, diesel, liquid propane gas (LPG) or compressed natural gas (CNG). the main advantages of IC forklifts are the ability to operate them in any environment, the greater weight capacity (120,000 lbs for diesel and 12,000 lbs for electric) and the ability to refuel on the fly. They also have a greater range, usually around 36 feet, compared to electric lifts, which usually do not exceed 30 feet.

 

Forklift fuel costs

Their upfront price is the opposite of electric, making IC forklifts initially cheaper than electric models, but more costly to run per hour. You can plan to pay about $30 to fill a 7-gallon diesel tank and $25 to $35 to fill a 33-pound propane tank. If you fill the tank twice a day (average for full time use), this equates to an annual fuel cost of $1,500 (electric), $15,000 (diesel) and about $12,500 (propane).

 

Internal Combustion (IC) forklifts are powered by a conventional engine that uses one of the following fuels: compressed gas or diesel.

 

Compressed gas: for gas forklifts you can choose between LPG or CNG - both are quick to refuel and have a long service life. Pneumatic forklifts have a long service life and relatively low maintenance costs. However, they tend to be noisy in operation, produce exhaust emissions and require facilities for storing fuel.

 

Diesel: Diesel forklifts can lift larger loads and move faster. Diesel forklifts are highly recommended if the forklift will be used for heavy lifting or outdoors. Diesel forklifts suitable for outdoor use are usually the most powerful. They have low running costs and high operational reliability. However, you will need to consider fuel costs and storage.


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