Are you considering purchasing an electric forklift? In the right circumstances, electric forklifts can be an excellent investment for your operations. Learn more about what makes this equipment beneficial and challenging.

The Benefits of an Electric Forklift

Limited Maintenance Requirements

Electric forklifts have no engine or transmission. These are the components in gas and diesel forklifts that most commonly need maintenance. Without them, you can experience far fewer maintenance requirements. Less maintenance offers two major selling points — there are fewer parts to replace, and you’ll likely experience less downtime.

Alongside the limited maintenance requirements, you don’t need to store fuel or dispose of harmful chemicals like coolant or engine oil. These forklifts also often have longer average life spans than gas models.

Zero Emissions or Fumes

One of the most notable electric forklift pros is that they create zero emissions. This fact makes these forklifts much better for the environment and creates a safer workplace for your team.

Other forklift models with diesel or gas engines generate harmful fumes that your workers breathe in around the clock. While these fumes may be less of a problem outdoors, they affect indoor employees. In addition to harming your team, these fumes can also be unsafe around items that are sensitive to emissions, such as food products.

While electric power’s safety and eco-friendly nature are huge benefits, you can also enjoy the cost savings of recharging the battery over regularly purchasing fuel.

Strong Rear Visibility

Propane forklifts have an LP tank attached to the back, which often affects visibility when backing up. Electric forklifts have an open rear that is ideal for high visibility needs. Instead of attaching the fuel source to the back, electric forklifts have a battery underneath the operator seat. This placement is more practical for visibility and allows the battery to act as a counterweight to keep the equipment stable as it operates.

Higher rear visibility is a huge benefit for safety, primarily if a forklift operates in an area with high foot traffic.

Tight Turning Radius

Electric forklifts have a small chassis that supports much higher maneuverability than LP counterparts. With a tighter turning radius, this equipment is excellent for warehouses with complex navigational demands. 

The Disadvantages of an Electric Forklift

High Upfront Cost

Electric forklifts often come at a high price, so you need to be prepared for the expense. However, lower operating costs can help to balance out the initial investment. You’ll need to consider your budget to determine whether the price works for you. Another way to combat this is to buy a used electric lift truck vs opting for new.

Operating Limitations

While electric forklifts can operate outside, you must be mindful of environmental changes. The battery will not function well in higher temperatures, and rain can cause damage if your battery isn’t properly sealed.

Battery Challenges

Saying goodbye to fuel can be a huge benefit, but you will need to charge the battery regularly. These batteries typically need about eight hours of charging time, and they need to cool down. If you use your forklift around the clock, you might find the charging situation challenging. In addition, you will need to also consider how to store your batteries. These batteries require space indoors to charge, which can be difficult if your facility is already tight on space. 

Signs an Electric Forklift Is a Good Fit for You

Is an electric forklift the right equipment for your applications? Review this electric forklift checklist to confirm whether an electric model meets your needs:

  • You’ll typically use the forklift inside.
  • Your shift schedule or fleet size allows for charging time.
  • You need to protect your workers and products from fumes.
  • You work in tight spaces where maneuverability is a must.
  • You want to save money on the cost of ownership.
  • You’re prepared for the initial investment.

Find Electric Forklifts at Springer Equipment

Springer Equipment offers a range of used forklifts to meet your project demands. Find an electric forklift today that suits your budget. Questions? Get in touch with our team.