How To Choose The Right Power Source For Your Forklift

When it comes to choosing a power source for your lift equipment there are a few options. Internal combustion or ICE has a traditional engine that runs on liquid petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), gasoline, diesel, or other fuel. Electric or EV, which uses an onboard battery system such as lead-acid or lithium-ion. Hydrogen fuel cells or FCVs use a fuel cell powered by hydrogen.

Here is an overview of the options available to help your organization make the right power source choice that works best in your working environment.

Why Internal Combustion?

The most widely used forklifts in operation today have an internal combustion engine. For fast refueling, minimal indoor space requirements for fueling infrastructure, and strong power delivery until full depletion, ICE-powered lift trucks are an excellent choice. Here are more of the benefits:

  • PRODUCTIVITY FOCUS – CNG and LPG tanks can be easily replaced, and gasoline and diesel models can be easily refueled.
  • SPACE FOR OPERATIONS – Fueling infrastructure can be located outdoors, freeing indoor space from battery maintenance and charging for your core business.
  • CONTINUOUS POWER – Operators can get maximum vehicle performance as the fuel tank empties, keeping operations moving with no decline in productivity during shifts.
  • NO DEPENDENCE ON ELECTRIC UTILITIES – No need for an electrical grid or high utility charges.

Why Lead Acid?

Traditional lead-acid and newer options like thin plate pure lead come with varying costs, maintenance, operator involvement and run time to provide an option to fit your unique requirements. With a long, proven track record of performance and reliability, lead-acid batteries provide the benefits of electrification with a relatively low startup cost. Here are a few lead-acid battery benefits:

  • REDUCE EMISSIONS – Minimal emissions during operation to meet standards for air quality and help meet sustainability goals.
  • LOWER UPFRONT COSTS – Minimize investment with reduced startup cost to electrify your fleet compared to other power sources.
  • MINIMAL REQUIRED MAINTENANCE – Electric lift trucks have fewer moving mechanical parts and fluids than internal combustion engines.
  • READY FOR ANY SHIFT – Extra power units and multi-battery packs enable you to go further and help operators be more productive.

Why Lithium-ion?

Lift trucks powered by lithium-ion batteries are ideal for high-intensity operations. Simple opportunity charging, consistent performance in hot and cold environments, and no maintenance requirements enable lithium-ion batteries to help provide the utmost productivity while supporting compliance with emissions regulations.

  • SAVES SPACE – There’s no need for space-eating battery charging and changing battery stations, allowing more space for business operations.
  •  ZERO MAINTENANCE – On-demand charging allows consistent operation without any cleaning and watering.
  • PERFORMANCE IN HOT AND COLD ENVIRONMENTS – Lithium-ion batteries work in both hot and cold environments providing flexibility in lift equipment use.
  • GREEN ENERGY – Meets green energy compliance for your operation.

Why Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Hydrogen fuel cells allow your organization the simplicity and sustained performance of internal combustion engines with the environmentally sound, maintenance-friendly attributes of electric options. Hydrogen fuel cells will have zero emissions and quiet operation plus the ability to be refueled as quickly as gasoline engines.

  • IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY – Hydrogen fuel cells provide consistent power throughout a shift and can be refueled in three minutes, offering more uptime than other electric power sources.
  •  FREE UP SPACE – A hydrogen fueling system takes up a small facility footprint, providing valuable workspace for your operation. In some cases, a fueling system can be moved outdoors.
  • CLEAN AND GREEN – Hydrogen fuel cells have no harmful emissions and use natural, recyclable resources, helping you truly comply with emissions regulations and sustainability initiatives.
  • OPPORTUNITY FUELING – Hydrogen fuel can be delivered if you have little to no infrastructure. The delivery of liquid hydrogen could be a better fit and offer lower fuel prices for moderate operations. Larger operations can benefit from the on-site generation of fuel at the very lowest fuel prices.

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