Electric Forklifts: What you need to know

While gas and diesel-powered forklifts were once centre stage when it comes to day-to-day operations, electric trucks are swiftly catching up to these old favourites. Offering a greener approach, safer indoor use and practical functionality; battery power is bigger than ever when it comes to forklift technology. We’ve collated all you need to know about electric forklifts to make an informed choice on whether going electric is the right is fit for your business.

Read on to find out more about the main differences of electric forklifts, the benefits of this technology and which industries would get the most use out of battery-powered operations. We’ve covered it all, so you won’t have to look elsewhere when it comes to determining if battery power is the best fit for your business.

What are electric forklifts?

Electric forklifts are a subtype of forklift that is powered exclusively by electricity, rather than traditional sources such as gas or diesel. These models offer an effective, quiet and powerful way to utilise forklift technology in even tight, enclosed spaces. While this tech isn’t suitable in all instances – for example, where a forklift is used outside for extremely hefty loads – it does provide an alternative to bulkier, less indoors-suitable models of the past.

How are electric forklifts different to other models on the market?

As you might expect, the big difference between electric forklifts and other models is the source of power. While other forklifts may require petrol or diesel to function, electric models require a charge of a few hours (sometimes overnight) to keep running. In many cases, going electric means a quieter machine, and while there are electric forklifts capable of carrying hefty loads, such as the Doosan 5 ton 7-Series, in many cases electric forklifts are designed to be smaller, more manoeuvrable machines.

The benefits of electric and battery-powered forklifts

Wondering if a battery-powered forklift is the best fit for your business? Here are just some of the benefits of electric forklifts that might be of advantage to you:

Lower running costs over time

Because battery-powered forklifts don’t require frequent refuelling, the only additional costs you’ll have once you’ve purchased your electric forklift is the price of electricity for each charge (electric trucks do also need servicing just as frequently as a gas or diesel forklift). For gas and diesel, certain safety restrictions apply to keep fuel on-site, which can also add on an additional cost.

Suitable for enclosed environments

Emissions are a serious concern with engine-powered vehicles, and forklifts are no exception. Bad for the environment and the health of workers in enclosed spaces, a diesel forklift isn’t suitable for working inside, especially when little ventilation is available. By comparison, electric forklifts have no issue with emissions. They run smoothly without any potential health concerns to employees from fumes or chemical reactions, making them perfectly suited for use in even the most enclosed of spaces. Many models also offer higher levels of manoeuvrability, making them ideal for tight corners and more cramped warehouses.

What environments are best suited to electric and battery-powered forklifts?

Any environment where emissions from traditional forklifts would be an issue is the perfect match for electric forklifts. Whether it’s an enclosed warehouse or a refrigerated unit, battery-powered forklifts are capable of working in many different environments. They’re also ideal for workplaces where requirements are continually shifting and changing. Many of the models from Doosan are also just as capable for use in external environments provided the ground is relatively flat.

While workplaces where consistent heavy-duty loads may not be best suited to an electric-only fleet, combining a few battery-powered forklifts with larger petrol or diesel models can provide the versatility needed for enhanced productivity. Electric forklifts and electric pallet trucks  are also well suited for smaller spaces and retrieving unwieldy items in addition to standard pallets, making them multi-purpose in just about any warehouse, factory or manufacturing plant.

What industries would benefit most from electric forklift technology?

Many industries would benefit from investing in electric forklift technology, but these are just a few of the sectors that could get the most out of bringing in a battery-powered fleet of forklifts:

Retail and ecommerce

With variable loads, around-the-clock requirements and fast retrieval now the standard for the average retail or ecommerce warehouse, electric forklifts provide the solution. As part of a picking and packing workflow, businesses can have multiple forklifts and rotate the charging pattern so they always have trucks ready to work, minimising downtime.

Construction and manufacturing

While engine-powered forklifts are the best fit for heavy-duty loads and external environments, builder’s yards and manufacturing plants can benefit from the addition of a smaller, nippier electric forklift. With models capable of lifting up to 5 tons in the Doosan range, electric forklifts are more formidable than ever before. Not to mention, they meet all health and safety compliance for internal working environments, allowing for use just about anywhere in your facility.

Warehouse storage

Quickly and easily storing pallets and loads onto shelving and into containers is practical and straightforward with modern electric forklifts. What makes these models even more suitable is the downtime these kinds of environments often have, allowing for full charges without the inconvenience of investing in additional batteries. Combined with electric pallet trucks, an electric forklift can provide the complete warehouse storage solution.

Is an electric or battery-powered forklift the right fit for my business?

So, is an electric forklift the best fit for your business? As someone who deals with workflow and operations every single day, you likely already know the specific needs and problems within your company. If you need a boost in productivity, with a solution that’s emissions-free and suitable for your working environment, then battery-powered might be the way to go. Capable of lifting anything from 1.3-5 tons, the Doosan 7 Series range would be an excellent fit for many businesses.

Capable of improving workflows, enhancing existing business practices and complying fully with safety and environmental requirements, electric forklifts are the way of the future. As more and more businesses look to phase out engine-based models, there’s never been a better time to invest in new technology for your business – before the rush. With battery technology and additional features improving every day, it will come as no surprise that electric forklifts are here for the long run; so why not enhance your workflow and embrace productive technology today?

To find out more about the full range of Doosan electric battery-powered forklifts, view our catalogue online today. Or contact us to discuss how an electric forklift might be the perfect fit for your business.