May 22, 2019

Engine vs Electric Counterbalance – what’s best for you?

When purchasing a forklift truck, there are many factors to consider; new or used, rental or purchase? One important factor to consider is the engine type of the forklift truck, in particular whether you should opt for an Internal Combustion Engine – Diesel or LPG or an Electric Engine.

In the past, the choice was simple, many businesses would generally opt for the IC Engine, however, with the developments in electric trucks and IC engines becoming increasingly more regulated, electric is becoming more popular. But what’s best for your operation? In this blog post, we want to help you to decide.

IC Engine Forklifts

An internal combustion (IC) engine on a forklift uses fuel to run, generally diesel or LPG. This engine type is generally the most popular in industrial equipment such as forklifts. Here are a few advantages of IC Engine trucks:

  • When it comes to upfront cost, IC forklifts tend to be less expensive than electric forklifts.
  • IC forklifts are more versatile. They can be used both indoors and outdoors, and tend to have a higher load capacity, which allows them to be applied to a large range of applications.
  • If you are operating a multi-shift operation, IC forklifts can be a more appealing choice as they can be easily and quickly refuelled.

However, there are some disadvantages to IC engine forklifts which are worth considering:

  • IC engines create carbon monoxide emissions that must be accounted for and dealt with during indoor use. Because of this, IC engines are becoming a lot more regulated with the introduction of Euro-stage V in January 2019, all IC engines must now comply with this regulation. Find out more about Euro-stage V here
  • IC forklifts require more frequent forklift maintenance and repair. This means more downtime and cost.
  • Although the process of refuelling IC forklifts is quicker and more efficient, the cost of refuelling is generally more expensive than that of electric trucks.

Electric Forklifts

An electric forklift uses a rechargeable battery to power the engine. As mentioned before, this type of forklift is fast becoming more popular as IC engines become more regulated and these forklifts become more advanced. Here are a few advantages of electric trucks:

  • Generally electric trucks will cost more upfront than that of IC trucks. However, over time electric will generally cost less due to the costs of repair and maintenance being less and lower fuel costs.
  • The comfort of operators can be a very important factor in the buying process, and definitely needs to be considered. Electric trucks generally tend to provide more comfort to operators as they create fewer vibrations than that of IC trucks.
  • Environmental friendliness is a hot topic and businesses are becoming a lot more conscious of the environment when making a range of decisions, including their materials handling equipment. Electric forklifts have the benefit of being a lot kinder to the environment than that of IC forklifts, they use less energy and create fewer emissions making them a lot more environmentally friendly.

However, there are also some disadvantages to electric forklifts which need to be considered:

  • Electric trucks can be more difficult to use outside, particularly in wet and harsh conditions. However, newer technologies have become available that allows electric trucks to work better outside in harsher conditions.
  • Storing electric forklifts can be more difficult than that of IC forklifts as they require a lot more space for the forklift, it’s batteries and also an area is required for recharging.
  • It can take considerably longer to charge a battery on an electric truck than refuel an IC truck. Batteries must often be charged for 8 hours and then cool down for 8 hours between uses, one battery may be needed per shift making the cost of owning an electric truck more costly. However, some electric forklifts are more efficient and can run two shifts without the need for recharging. It’s important to make sure you seek advice on how this might work for your operation.

It is important to ensure that the choice you make is right for your business needs. Make sure you seek advice beforehand and carry out a site survey. Rushlift’s team of expert advisors will happily do this for you.

Here at Rushlift, we offer a range of Doosan IC and electric counterbalance forklifts to suit a range of needs. Whatever your decision we can help you!

Call us on 0800 731 5035 or fill in our online contact form

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