Each electric forklift model has its unique advantages instrumental for heavy-duty lifting, high performance, or environmental sustainability. As the move towards environmentally conscious industrial material handling activities becomes increasingly prominent electric forklifts have made their mark on the industrial material handling equipment market. However, for warehouse managers and management staff in South Africa, the move to electric forklifts is not as simple as it sounds. Struggles with energy supply, due to load-shedding, and the need for reliable heavy-duty performance has limited the implementation of electric forklifts on ports and terminals as managers look for long-term, sustainable solutions to their concerns.
In this article, we answer the main question:
Electric forklifts are battery-powered, predominantly lead acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries. Making the battery decision a crucial one as it determines the technological advantage, lifetime costs, maintenance, charging needs etc.
Lead acid forklift batteries generate power from the chemical reaction between lead and sulphuric acid thus it consists of lead plates immersed in an electrolytic solution of sulphuric acid and water. The water needs to be refilled regularly as it evaporates during the chemical reaction. Their inefficiencies such as extended charging time, long cool-down periods, risk of overheating and the high maintenance requirements and costs have made it unfeasible to use lead acid battery-powered forklifts for high-intensity work required at ports and terminals.
Lithium-Ion batteries however offer the next generation of sustainable forklifts unique benefits such as being lighter in weight, having higher energy efficiency, and faster charge time. A longer lifespan and being maintenance-free are additional benefits. Lithium-Ion battery technology has been at the forefront of CFAO Equipment SA’s electric forklift offerings via our business unit, Toyota Forklifts, the leading supplier of 3-wheel electric forklift and 4-wheel electric forklift trucks, warehouse equipment and logistics solutions in South Africa. These innovative batteries allow your electric forklifts to work harder for longer increasing the power, productivity, and performance of electric forklifts.
Studies have shown that electric forklifts are significantly cheaper to operate and maintain as opposed to Internal Combustion (IC) forklifts. Fewer components requiring maintenance result in reduces downtime, lower maintenance costs, and thus lower lifetime costs, simultaneously increasing profits and productivity.
Electric forklifts don’t run on petrol or diesel thus they are significantly cheaper to run as recharge costs are much lower than fuel costs, especially when using solar energy paired with smart chargers utilising Dynamic Power Limitations to optimise energy demand during charging cycles. This also means electric forklifts have almost zero emissions making them extremely environmentally friendly and safer for indoor and outdoor use as they produce little to no air or noise pollution. Electric forklifts, therefore, increase the safety of employees, operators, and the environment.
Lithium-ion battery-powered electric forklifts offer the South African warehouse industry the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of electric forklifts without concerning themselves with energy efficiency. The fast-charging lithium-ion batteries ensure that your electric forklift charges from 0%-50% in about 30 minutes, with a full charge taking as little as 2 hours and lasting up to 8 hours. These energy-dense batteries charge faster and withstand longer load cycles while constantly maximising power precision and ensuring reliability and safety.
To find out more on how Toyota Forklift’s Lithium-Ion Batteries are revolutionizing electric forklifts read our article here.
Or if you’re looking for a range of electric forklifts for sale, complete the online form below and one of our representatives will contact you to learn more about how we best meet your needs.