Choosing the right forklift fuel type


LP Gas Fuel Forklifts

LPG is a gas that is produced by mixing a variety of items including propane, butane and other chemicals and is artificially produced.

Advantages LPG Fuel Forklift Trucks

  • Low carbon emitting – burns cleanly with no soot and very few sulfur emissions.
  • Widely available
  • Non corrosive, non toxic and free of any additives, high octane rating (108RON)
  • Less tax and therefore cheaper to purchase
  • Safer option due to its lower pressure
  • Quick refueling, taking less than 5 minutes (as opposed to electric)

Disadvantages LPG Fuel Forklifts

  • Lower energy density per volume of unit compared to petrol, therefore fuel consumption is higher.
  • Heavier than air, thus will flow along floors posing ignition & suffocation hazards if not dealt with immediately.
  • Classified as “dangerous good” due to its destructive nature
  • Less power than diesel/petrol (90%)
Choose forklift fuel type

 

Diesel Fuel Forklifts

Diesel forklifts typically come with solid tyres allowing them to lift heavier loads ranging from around 900 kg (lifting/moving pallets) all the way up to 45 tons (ISO container). They also have much greater ground clearance dimensions, which is extremely useful if working on asphalt pavement or unpaved roads where objects may be protruding out of the ground. Therefore it’s recommended that you get a diesel forklift when being used for heavy lifting or outdoors.

Advantages Diesel Fuel Forklift Trucks

  • Running costs are lower when compared to gas fueled forklifts
  • More torque as opposed to other fuel types
  • More reliable – less complicated internally
  • Diesel lasts longer as opposed to other fuel types
  • Quick refueling – less than five minutes (as opposed to electric)

Disadvantages Diesel Fuel Forklifts

  • More expensive compared to other fuel types
  • Loud engines
  • Requires fuel reserve storage room, which meets EPA standards (takes up valuable space)
  • Requires more consumable parts (tyres, emissions maintenance, oil and filter changes)
  • Forklift is heavier due to extra parts
  • Can only be used in open spaces or well ventilated areas

Electric Fuel Forklifts

Electric forklifts are powered by either a battery or fuel cells that provide power to its electric motors. The electric motors used on forklifts may be either DC or AC types. If you are involved in working indoors or in cold climates (freezers or cold storage) or even in food processing; you must use an electric forklift. The reason being is that it doesn’t emit fumes which will raise the temperature in the area in which it is being operated.

However, you should never use an electric forklift outside where it can possibly rain or snow as it can cause the machine to short circuit. Electric forklifts are generally fitted with cushion tyres making them only suitable for hard surfaces such as concrete.

Advantages Electric Fuel Forklift Trucks

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Usable in small areas and indoors
  • Electric forklifts have a longer life span compared to other types of forklifts
  • Cheaper consumption when it comes to hourly work compared to gas/diesel
  • At a national average peak rate of 15¢/kWh, most electric forklifts cost around $1.10 per hour to operate for fuel.
  • Helps with communication among workers by providing a low level of noise
  • Greater maneuverability
  • Low centre of gravity – more stable at greater lift heights
  • Controls simple and user friendly
  • More mechanically simplistic (no transmission, torque converter etc)

Disadvantages Electric Fuel Forklifts

  • The battery is required to be charged for 8 hours and additionally, you must let it cool down for another 8 hours after charging before you can actually use it. Therefore if needed for a lot of work, you would need extra batteries which are expensive.
  • Can take between 10 – 45 minutes to swap over a battery
  • You need to have a battery charging station (around 200 square feet) that is well ventilated, dry and temperature controlled.
  • Aren’t appropriate for use outside, especially in wet weather.

A common question asked about electric forklifts is: why does its value fall more than LPG and diesel?

Answer: Electric forklift batteries last for roughly five years (if maintained properly (link to battery maintenance blog)) with the batteries costing a hefty price to replace. In addition most chargers for these are three phase and many buildings don’t have three phase power.

Electric forklifts are powered by either a battery or fuel cells that provide power to its electric motors. The electric motors used on forklifts may be either DC or AC types. If you are involved in working indoors or in cold climates (freezers or cold storage) or even in food processing; you must use an electric forklift. The reason being is that it doesn’t emit fumes which will raise the temperature in the area in which it is being operated.

Choose forklift fuel type