What is an Electric Forklift?

Instead of using a diesel or gas engine, an electric forklift is driven by an electric motor. It can use rechargeable trade batteries or external conveyance (rail, wire, etc.). As with other lift trucks, the electric lift truck lifts and transports inventory and product over shorter distances.

Combi-PPT Powerd Pallet Lift Trucks

Electric lifts most frequently rely on two, powered horizontal forks. These forks are pushed up and let down for transporting goods, loading goods, and unloading goods, especially those stored on wooden pallets.

The three most common types of electric lift trucks include:

Counterbalance forklift trucks – the most often used type, the forks jut out from the front, without base legs or outriggers to hold the load.

4-wheel configurations and 3-wheel configurations – these forklift trucks are similar. Although both steer with the back wheels, 3-wheel forklifts are centered and use a steering wheel for maneuverability. They are more navigable than 4-wheel machines, particularly in smaller spaces.

Sitting or Standing – This option allows personnel to either sit down for operation, like you would in driving a car, or stand up. Stand up electric lift trucks tend to be 3-wheel configurations constructed for use in high-traffic areas or for loading/unloading semi-trucks and rail cars.

Advantages of Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts are perfect various operations, including manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, transportation and handling of food or beverages. Fuel use, operational expenses and green energy requirements are all part of the growing trend to switch over to electric-drive lift trucks. The advantages go beyond costs and clean energy.

Cost Savings

There is virtually no difference in performance from diesel or gas powered machines. In fact, the electric forklifts save money. Though up-front costs are higher, it is cheaper to recharge a battery with electricity than to constantly refuel with diesel or gas.

Because there are fewer components in an electric forklift, the maintenance and service intervals are fewer. With no fuel, fuel filters, gas tanks, oil filters, or other diesel or gas parts, you will save money in the long run with an electric forklift.

Since the electric forklift doesn’t require fuel, manufacturers and warehouse managers have no need to store fuel on the proper. This is cheaper and better in terms of health and safety risks.


Electric forklifts are the best option for smaller buildings. The low center of gravity in an electric forklift allows the operator to load heavier items. This low center of gravity also adds to the truck’s stability.

Without an internal combustion engine, noise in the facility will be significantly reduced. This creates a lower stress, quieter work environment for everyone at the facility.

The electric forklift has virtually no emissions. This helps the facility to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of Electric Forklifts

While the innovation of electric forklifts has increased sales over those of traditional engine forklifts over the past few years, electric forklifts are not always the best choice for your operation. Here are some potential disadvantages of electric forklifts:

Battery Cost and Maintenance

Typically a higher upfront cost, while traditional diesel and gas forklifts are cheaper to buy upfront, they require far more, costly maintenance. As part of the initial expense and ongoing maintenance, battery charging stations must be installed and kept in good working order.

There are voltage requirements and some older facilities may not have the electricity capacity to handle the charging stations. Heavy batteries may require a special lifts for changing.

Unlike changing the battery in a car, the special, rechargeable batteries for electric forklifts are quite heavy and awkward. They are difficult to swap out. Lastly, electric forklifts do have a weight restriction not found with many diesel or gas powered forklifts.

Electric Forklifts from Easy Street

We offer electric forklifts that are made to last! At Easy Street we know what it takes to increase your warehouse efficiency. To find out about our forklift services and solutions, click here to fill out our form.