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Analysis as electric forklifts take further share from IC models

14 January 2020

Baoli has identified a number of key advantages from electric forklifts, such as lower management costs, and smooth and stable performance.

The manufacturer has pointed to international research who sign the market for electric trucks is expected to grow by 5.4% over the next five years, becoming a $20.6 billion dollar market.

Environmental sustainability has become one of the main issues of logistics on a global level, contributing to a positive impact on cost containment and on improving people's well-being.

Five years ago in Europe electric forklift trucks accounted for 49% of the total front-end trucks, while at the end of last year that grew to 55.2%. What are the advantages of electric forklift trucks in logistics? The main features include lower operating costs, absence of emissions and considerable driving comfort, in addition to a reduction in the noise and vibration thresholds compared to thermal forklift trucks, which contribute to a significant improvement of operators’ safety and well-being.

“The use of alternating current technology and the high level of reliability achieved have made machines available both inside and outside warehouses, without any kind of limitation whatsoever,” explains Francesco Pampuri, Baoli EMEA marketing manager. “The focus then obviously shifted to environmental responsibility issues, which led to a massive use of electric forklift trucks, now also offered in the lithium battery operated version by due to their many advantages. Indeed, thanks to lithium machines it becomes possible to work on several shifts without the need of a battery change; electric forklift trucks can be recharged everywhere, even inside a sales store, all features that can be found in our EP12WS and EPW15S transpallet fork-lift trucks, which represent our response to the needs of light handling, typical of small retail outlets and inside motor vehicles.”

But what are the main reasons that have led to a slow decline of thermal forklift trucks? Although they were sold more easily due to their adaptability to all weather conditions, thanks to their sturdy structure, suitable for working on uneven surfaces, and to the convenience of refuelling – which resulted in having to stop the machine just on a few occasions, achieving an excellent continuity of work even on several continuous shifts - the risks of atmospheric pollution and excessive operating costs have led many companies to opt for electric forklift trucks. Also, imminent new European legislation, scheduled for 2020, will lead to a general increase in the truck purchasing costs by about 15 to 20%, approaching - and in some cases exceeding - those of an electric truck of equal capacity.  

Pampuri continues: “Over the last ten years we have witnessed a real evolution in the structure of electric forklift trucks. If before they were machines designed in particular for internal use and made using direct current technology, which did not fit dirty work environments and external use in the event of adverse weather conditions, all the more so they were not yet supported by advanced battery charging systems, now the scenario has radically changed thanks to the use of AC (alternating current) technology, and more and more efficient charging systems. Furthermore, with the technology of lithium batteries, cleared by the automotive industry, the type of use of an electric forklift truck is getting increasingly closer to that of a thermal one. But there are above all considerable differences in costs: comparing two 2-ton class trucks operating for ten years on an intense work cycle, it is easy to find savings of more than €1,100 to 1,400 per year in favour of electric trucks.”