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Combustion vs Electric
Hi Everyone,

Comparing two new units; electric and combustion same capacity and specs, using them same rate shift hours.
Can you please tell me what advantages are between use electric and combustion forklift?
Does the cost to support each is different, thinking in a new units?

Thinking in long term, does they delivered same cost vs benefit?

is the same cost in combustion liter versus kilowatt/hr?
how I can calculate the performance in each unit in regards work done?

Let me know and thank you in advance

  • Posted 25 Jun 2008 03:57 AM
Total replies: 15. Showing items 1 - 15 of 15 results.
IC - continuous operation with refueling but you get emissions
electric - emission free but 1 shift per charge
for continuous operation you would need to change out batteries at the end of each shift

form what ive heard all the other specs are pretty even as far as sit down riders vs IC

o and if these units are gonna work outside at all absolutely get IC

New York, New York its a heluva know that The Bronx is up..and I'm Brooklyn down
  • Posted 26 Jun 2008 03:12 PM
Luis, cost is important but your application should dictate on wether or not you should use IC or electric. Electric in most cases runs cheaper than IC but if an electric truck can not perform the task in a productive manner you lose money in production. If you are in a factory where there is minimal ventalation an IC truck would not be my choice due to emisions as there will be employees complaing of the smell or headaches and etc.

So in a nutshell look at your application and make your descision on what would work the best and then look at a brand of forklift that is known for low cost per hour to operate. I know Toyota has a great electric sitdown and a lot of my customers are happy with them.
  • Posted 26 Jun 2008 11:45 PM

In regards power consumption, how I can estimate the cost fuel vs, kilowatt/hr using IC and electric one? it can be estimate by shift or hour?
Beside all you have told me,

Also, how I can get the electricity co$t to fully charge a battery after shift done?

Do I can compare the registered hour in each unit? it is a good manner to get that estimation?

let me know

  • Posted 27 Jun 2008 03:03 AM
theres no such thing as "acceptable" opportunity charging
fast chargers & batteries haven't taken hold due to high cost
modern electrics are indoor machines unless weather packed (at an additional cost for the option)

New York, New York its a heluva know that The Bronx is up..and I'm Brooklyn down
  • Posted 28 Jun 2008 06:41 AM
Hi Luis

Your questions are fundamentaly idealistic in nature.

#1 If you are using the Lift Truck indooors for one minuite of its life the answer is simple, it must be ELECTRIC. Machines are replaceable humans are not. In Nova Scotia our law states that any ICE vehicle operated within an enclosed space must have the vehicle or the area monitored at all times for carbon monoxide emmisions.

#2 Google Raymond Corporation and you will find many space and unit calculators as well as an in depth look into the modern materials handling world.

#3 Your request for cost per hour calculations has to many variables to be realistic. Assuming you have the same operator on both vehicles operating the sane tasks it will be very simple to calculate the cost per pound of propane. On the other hand the cost of calculating electricity is verry difficult. $per killowatt hour comes from your electric company. Calculating the killowatt hours used will depend on depth of discharge, efficiency of charger, general maintainance of battery (cleaning & watering), type of charger purchased, age of battery and what voltage charger you have purchased(for example using a single phase 110 volt charger to charge a battery will probably cost you 300% more per year to charge your battery as apposed to using a 600 volt three phase charger). Your power company may have you on a variable price rate depending on consumption and peak usage may drive your monthly bill higher.

Although this is not a direct answer to your questions I do hope it gives you some points to ponder.
  • Posted 29 Jun 2008 12:35 PM
Luis - in the US it is an accepted number that the cost to recharge a battery of $2.85 to $3.00 per charge and it can be safely assumed that one battery charge (battery discharged to 20%) will provide the same amount of run time as one 33# LPG tank. Of couse these numbers are based on batteries/charges are in could condtion, properly matched, proper tires are installed on the electric (electric compound tire - most are today but there are still a few makes that aren't).

Hope that helps.

"Have An Exceptional Day!"
  • Posted 29 Jun 2008 11:20 PM
John - I can drive thru this usefull information and, hopefully can transmit in a clear manner why and when to use every single one considering not only cost factors even thougth envirnmental issues.

Thank you

  • Posted 1 Jul 2008 04:11 AM
It could be a chart in which we can reference our power consumption as a fridge when you get a new unit, it reflect whta are you expecting to save in electricity. It could be something similar in electric forklift and IC as well. that is my toughts only, not sure if it exist at this time based in the extreme working conditions. thank you Luis
  • Posted 1 Jul 2008 04:15 AM
I have to say I believe your way over thinking this. A refridgerator runs the same when the motor kicks on and draws a consistant amount of voltage, With forklifts there are too many variable's, application, battery size, wet cell, gel cell, cable condition, charger type, the state of charge the battery is in when put on charge, forklifts motors condition, Ac motors or dc motors. The list goes on.

I have never seen any data plate on a forklift that indicates power consumption or power savings and thats because of all the variables. I am sure there is a way of figuring out what you need but unless your running a 30 truck fleet for a company that budgets down to the penny, I feel your pulling your hair out for no reason.

I'm not trying to be rude but look at your application and your budget and start narrowing down what type of forklift will work best for your company. A forklift that is inexpensive to run is great but if it cant fully perform all the functions that you need it to does not sound like a good purchase.

I'm no expert but I do know that cost can not be the driving factor when purchasing a forklift. In the [url removed] we have a saying, " You get what you pay for".

  • Posted 1 Jul 2008 07:31 AM
HI Luis

As Alabama says you get what you pay for, and if you end up getting the most fuel efficient vehicle in the world that is not supported by service and parts then you will not have to wory about cost of fuel but rather the cost of parts or even worse the cost of not having a forklift to move your products. Fuel is only one factor in the true cost of ownership.
  • Posted 1 Jul 2008 09:12 PM
randal, you summed that up nicely.

I was also thinking a hand pallet jack would be the most efficient,,lol no really.
Luis, if its your employer that wants you to figure the fuel or energy cost on forklifts tell them that you need to visit other operations that are similiar to yours so you can do some research to find the information you are looking for. Maybe you can get a vacation out of it.

Thats the only way I can think that you will get accurate information.
  • Posted 1 Jul 2008 10:56 PM
- The shop I worked for did cost comparsion ten years ago for a large farm tractor manufacture. The comparsion was for operating cost of electric, propane and high pressure natural gas. It was done by the sales guys so I am not sure of the accuracy and now since propane costs have increased and electricity has not. What the sales guys came up with at that time energy costs for an electric machine was 1/4 of propane and 1/3 for high pressure natural gas. For the first 4 to 6 years of operation the maintenance cost for IC machines are higher for engine oil and filters, plus tune up costs. After 4 to 6 years an electric needs a new battery. If you are running more that one shift per day you need a battery for each shift and the equipement to change-out the battery.
- An easy way to calulate energy costs for an electric is: If it fully dischages a 500 amp hr battery per shift then take 500 amp hrs and times it by 1 1/2 (charging efficienty loss) = 750 X 48 (the voltage of the battery) = 36000 watt hrs = 36 KW hrs. Here electricity cost 5 cents per KW hrs, then the energy cost per shift is 36 X.05 = $1.80.
  • Posted 2 Jul 2008 01:05 AM
  • • Modified 2 Jul 2008 01:16 AM by poster
Less moving parts thus less spare parts
No Noise - No pollution
Lower operating cost (fuel)
Easier to operate
No fuel to store on premises
  • Posted 2 Jul 2008 02:43 AM
  • pbace
  • Virginia, United States
Luis –

These days, I think that an operating cost or total ownership cost comparison is very important when comparing an electric truck to an IC truck (LPG or diesel), given the current cost of these fuels.

I do such comparisons frequently in my job and use a cost calculator that we developed. Someone referenced one on the Raymond web site but my opinion is that it is not adequate for this type of comparison. Two other web-based calculators are found at the following:

[url removed]

[url removed]

In each case, the results are only as good as the information that you input about the application.

As others have said, there are an abundance of application-based factors that will affect your operation costs. However, you can do a reasonably accurate cost analysis without drilling down to each detail.

For example, you should be able to find out what the kWh rate a specific industrial customer is paying and estimate the overall electricity cost to re-charge your battery using an equation similar to that given by Bruce (actually, I have found that the efficiency of today’s three-phase chargers and fast chargers is typically better than the rate Bruce quoted, but that is a good conservative estimate).

The average kWh rates in the US vary a lot by state. I do not know if you have the same regional variations in Mexico. However, when I do comparisons, these days, the cost to re-charge a battery is usually between 10%-15% of the costs of a 33lb LPG tank, using John’s assumption that both will be exhausted after one shift (another characteristic that varies a lot).

As noted, the cost of the electric truck, battery (s), charger, etc are substantially higher than the cost of a comparable IC truck. As such, the amount of annual hours used has a huge influence on the overall ownership costs, because of the huge discrepancy in fuel costs (electric vs IC), as well as typical maintenance costs, as others have indicated. In applications where you run over 1800 hours per year, the difference in the acquisition costs of an electric vs IC truck can be made up in 2 years. Not so if the truck is being used less than 1000 hours per year.

I must disagree, at least in part, with some of the statements above, though.

First, certain electric trucks can be used as indoor/outdoor trucks. In fact, electric pneumatic trucks are specifically designed for such usage (most of these designs are derived from Europe where trucks are side loading trailers frequently, so outdoor travel is required. Of course, as applications and elements become more severe, additional protection must be considered, including installation of cabs, but to say that all electric trucks are solely indoor trucks is just not accurate.

Also, I have seen some very successful fast charge applications (and some unsuccessful ones). I have seen fleets that have now gone over 5 years with no failed batteries, cells, etc. However, it does take an application with some rather specific parameters for a fast charge installation to be cost effective and successful, overall.

Lastly, on performance, there are some 80 volt electric sit down trucks with performance characteristics that, overall, exceed those of the market leading IC cushion and pneumatic style trucks. You don’t necessarily have to take a back seat on performance by using an electric truck, in some cases.
  • Posted 2 Jul 2008 05:37 AM
Luis V

This information mabe of help in the information I am providing you I am assuming a normal clean operation and a 5000 lb truck model with a 3 stage mast, side shift & forks.
If you want to get some good information contact my long time friend Rodolfo Slobotsky he lives in Mexico near Mexico City and has been in the lift trucks business a long time. He sent an e-mail relative to your questions.

1. It is possible to get a good estimate on the correct wsize battery you need for your operation. First, you need to get a "demo" or short term rental unit from a local dealer with the specifcations or as close to the specs you need. Have them arrange through their battery supplier for a "Power Prover" to the unit (a simple instalation at the battery connector). This will determine the number of amps that are consumed in your operation. Takes some of the guess work out of battery sizing.

2. Secondly, I would recommend you use a truck w/48V system battery and charger. The cost difference between 36v and 48v batteries & chargers is very little (I give my customers a choice 36v or 48v at the same price). You will benefit from faster travel speeds, lift/tilt speeds that equal and in some cases faster than comparable engine powered trucks. Plus the electical (motors, switches)& electronic (controllers)components will see less heat and last longer as the will see less amps(higher amps = higher heat). Some people will say the higher the amps longer run time. This false, what you need to look at is the kwH rating.

3. The cost for regular or planned maintence is less on an electric than engine powered. We charge our customer about $95 for a PM on an electric unit and about $155 to $170 for an engien powered unit.

4. Yes an electric truck intial costs more but maybe your company can benefit from an higher depreciation expense deduction - check with your controller. Plus an electric truck will last longer (less moving parts) a typical electric truck can be expected to run about 13,000 to 14,000 hours before major overal repairs are required with engine powered equipment they can be expeced to run about 10,000 to 11,000 hours or 1-2 more years longer.

5. A key ingredient in having a succesful conversion to electric is proper battery maintenance and charging techniques. You msut have people "properly" trained and I would reccomend you have the batterier supplier come in and train your personnel. Then you have clearly assigned responsibilities for periodic iof battery water levle, charging including when to "equalize" charge the battery (the battery/charger person can explain - it is very simple (push a button) so simple not many people every do it will extend the life of the battery.

"Have An Exceptional Day!"
  • Posted 4 Jul 2008 10:11 PM
Total replies: 15. Showing items 1 - 15 of 15 results.

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