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Why Choose an Electric Forklift?

Electric Forklifts offer several advantages compared to the traditional IC Forklift, for starters they emit zero emissions and fumes whilst operating, providing your business with a greener footprint, they are generally better for the environment. Because electric forklifts are cleaner, quieter and fuel-less the forklift machinery can be used safely near people or in industries such as food handling, chemical and paper applications.

They provide less noise and vibrations which makes the operation less fatiguing for the driver so they can be more productive.

The compactness of an electric forklift means they have a shorter wheelbase, reduced rear overhang and tighter turning radius. The Electric Forklift is easier to drive because of manoeuvrability and takes up less space on storage.

You will benefit from lower maintenance costs (up to 50%) and not having to constantly top up with fuel. Electric forklift trucks provide better handling and faster acceleration which can increase productivity.

Based on the normal service life, the more an electric forklift is used the more you will save in total cost. It takes time to offset the initial price, but it’s important to remember that the battery is more economical to charge and maintain than fuel, and better for the environment.

An electric counterbalance forklift is powered by electrical motors, rather than an internal combustion (IC) engine. The battery – which is generally made of lead acid or Lithium – provides the counterweight. This means that less space is required and the overall size of the truck is smaller and more manoeuvrable than an IC forklift.

Electric forklift trucks are typically used for loading, transporting, and unloading goods over short distances in warehouses or confined areas.

How Does an Electric Counterbalance Forklift Work?

A motor operates the drive wheel and a pump motor powers the hydraulic pump which operates the lifting and tilting of the forks. A controller is used to change the direction of the flow of electricity into the motor and the direction of the electric forklift.

How Does an Electric Counterbalance Forklift Work?

Three Wheel Forklift

HC UK’s Electric Counterbalance forklifts are available in 4 wheel electric forklift and 3 wheel electric forklift check out our forklifts for sale online. Three wheel forklift trucks are generally more manoeuvrable than four wheel machines due to their smaller turning circle. This makes them better adapted where space is limited and smother floors, including retail and ecommerce businesses with a small warehouse space. 3 wheel forklift trucks are a perfect way to boost productivity due to their size and load capacity, whilst working in smaller aisles and compact racking.

Three Wheel Forklift

Four Wheel Forklift

Alternatively, four-wheel forklifts are more ergonomic and powerful, giving you more flexibility in the workplace. The A415 is designed on a smaller scale, but benefits from the power and performance of a four-wheel machine.

In addition, the A Series High Performance Forklift, 2.5 – 3.5t is powered by a highly efficient Curtis 80v motor which significantly improves the lifting and driving speeds. This rugged model is intended to be operated outdoors even under harsh weather conditions, in manufacturing, wholesale and even builder’s yards.

Ultimately there is not one which is better than the other. It comes down to your exact business requirements, and what you need to forklift to do.

Considerations when buying an electric forklift 

The initial cost are generally more expensive upfront, however you will save money in the long term with no fuel costs and minimal part replacements.

Forklift battery charging can naturally take a bit of time, so it is important to factor this into your operations. Naturally, the machinery would be unavailable for use when charging, unless you purchase a spare forklift battery charger. If your business operates regular 8-hour shift, vehicles can be charged overnight. Operating 24/7 or shift patterns takes some planning with the electric forklift charging. Even a brief pause, or braking, will allow the electric forklift to store energy and last for longer.

Electric forklift trucks can operate in the rain just like an engine powered forklift due to the components being sealed. However, they aren’t well suited to prolonged amounts of time in the rain or heavy downpours as it can harm their mechanics.

Lithium Batteries

Improving energy efficiency is key for many businesses, both environmentally and in terms of cost savings. Lithium batteries are faster to charge than lead acid batteries and last approximately 4 times longer. They also don’t slow down as they discharge. One of the biggest advantages is that Lithium-Ion batteries can be opportunity charged for multi-shift operation and during lunch breaks without damaging it.

  • Last for 2,000-3,000 cycles
  • Battery efficiency 95%
  • Is charged in-situ
  • Does not require a ventilated space
  • Requires minimal maintenance

More benefits on Lithium-Ion batteries can be found here.

How to Decide Which Battery is Right for my Forklift?

We’ve put some important questions to ask when evaluating whether lead acid Vs lithium batteries are right for your business.

  1. What is the operational cycle?

Lead Acid = 8 hours   /   Lithium = 2-3 hours

  1. Are you operating more than one shift?

2 Lead acid batteries required  /  1 lithium battery required

  1. What’s the Charging time?

Lead Acid = 8 hours    /      Lithium Batteries = 2 hours

  1. Is space required for a charging room?

Lead Acid batteries require room  /  Not required room for Lithium

  1. Can I switch batteries?

Yes for Lead acid   /  Not required for Lithium

Further questions to ask yourself

Does my company want to build a greener footprint?

Do I need to meet tough emissions standards?

Is there the possibility for external funding?

Get in Touch Today

Whichever electric forklift model and battery type you are looking to invest in for your business, we provide free and honest advice on your material handling operations. Contact us today to discuss the range of three and four-wheel forklifts we offer, and together we will soon find something perfectly suited to your business needs.