When purchasing a forklift truck there are many things to consider, but one of the main considerations is which forklift fuel type is best for your operation?
There are three common types of forklift: electric, LPG and diesel. This article will discuss all three fuel sources and explain their pros and cons to help you establish which is the best option for you.
Electric forklifts are becoming a lot more popular, they run entirely on rechargeable batteries instead of fuel tanks, which means they offer many environmental benefits. As well as releasing low carbon emissions, electric fork lifts use less energy and are also much quieter than other types of truck. A quiet forklift provides many benefits, including improved operator safety. Loud noises can be distracting, causing headaches, stress, and fatigue.
Another benefit of opting for electric is that they are the most compact type of forklift, they are much easier to turn and manoeuvre, particularly through small, enclosed spaces. Also, due to developments in technology most electric trucks can now be used in both indoor and outdoor settings, meaning they are much more robust.
However, electric forklifts do tend to cost more initially compared to IC powered trucks but tend to work out more cost effective over the total life price. This has become more prevalent recently with the increase in fuel prices and changes to the rules on red diesel.
Something else to keep in mind is that electric forklifts can decline in speed and power as their battery drains, (this is to encourage the operator to put the truck on charge). Whereas diesel and LPG forklifts can keep up the same level of efficiency until they run out of fuel. Electric trucks also require some level of infrastructure, lead acid battery solutions may require you to have the room for charging stations.
It is important to note that there are now various options available when looking at power sources for electric forklifts. These include lead acid, lithium-ion, and hydrogen fuel cells. Most of the Toyota range of electric trucks are available with all of these power options.
Lithium-Ion batteries are 30% more energy efficient and have 3 times the lifecycle of lead acid. They allow for easy and fast opportunity charging and produce zero emissions with zero maintenance required. Although there are a huge amount of benefits to opting for lithium-ion batteries, they are more expensive than lead acid.
A Hydrogen Fuel Cell forklift uses a technology that is increasingly becoming a topic of conversation. Fuel cell is beneficial for more complex, large fleets with multiple shifts. There are many benefits to choosing this power source, including the ability to refuel in 1-3 minutes, zero emissions and low maintenance. However, opting for this power source is more expensive than other options, and requires the infrastructure for a refuelling station.
LPG forklifts run off gas. Although they are not as environmentally friendly as electric forklifts, they release fewer emissions than diesel-fuelled solutions.
The initial cost of an LPG forklift is usually much lower than electric and diesel-powered forklift trucks. However, they tend to have the lowest residual value at the end of their lifetime.
One of their key benefits is that they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments. In terms of maintenance costs, LPG forklifts tend to be more expensive than other solutions. They are also less easy to navigate around warehouses than electric forklift trucks. This means they might not be the best solution when operating in a smaller space.
Powered by diesel, this type of forklift is the least environmentally friendly. This is because they release an amount of carbon into the atmosphere during use. If your organisation is environmentally conscious, diesel forklifts might not be the right solution for you.
As diesel fuel combusts during use, this forklift is also the noisiest of the three solutions. When it comes to price, the initial price of purchasing a diesel forklift is much lower than an electric one. However, the rise in fossil fuel prices also means that diesel forklifts are predicted to become increasingly more expensive to run in the future.
These solutions have the highest residual value of the three. Diesel forklifts are generally worth more than LPG or electric models at the end of their life. They are also easy to maintain due to their high levels of longevity and durability. Although when maintenance is needed for these trucks, it usually costs more than electric and LPG solutions.
Diesel forklifts are mainly suitable for outdoor, rougher environments and also tend to be available to purchase in larger capacities They are physically the largest solution of the three and if you are operating in a smaller area, we recommend looking at a different solution. If your business is looking to become more sustainable, an electric forklift may be the best solution.
Hopefully this blog has given you a better idea of the options available if you're looking for a diesel forklift for sale, or perhaps a used forklift for sale, but if you are still unsure it is important to consult an expert who can do a full site survey and assess your needs. Here at Toyota, we offer free site surveys from our team of experts.