Diesel or LPG combustion engine forklift trucks used to be considered the only option to operate outdoors, but according to Karen Calver of Hyster, while IC trucks still have their benefits in many work environments, electric forklifts are increasingly being used outside.
“A number of features are responsible for some businesses making the move to electrics, such as improved efficiency, particularly in terms of battery power, and the associated low cost of ownership, including maintenance costs,” explains Karen Calver, Product Strategy Executive for Hyster. “Electric trucks are also becoming even more economical than previous models and allow environmentally friendly operation with zero emissions”.
“That said, for many, internal combustion (IC) trucks are still a great option – they are far cleaner and more fuel efficient than they have ever been – so as with any materials handling equipment, the truck selection ultimately comes down to the specific application requirements.”
Electric trucks can be used for loading and unloading lorries and containers, goods handling and transport. Even demanding tasks that were previously handled just by IC trucks are now very reliably performed by electric trucks.
They are becoming the norm in some outdoor areas across a wide range of industries, including drinks, automotive, metal-processing operations, such as foundries, timber and building materials trade, and recycling operations.
Lower cost of ownership
Four-wheel electric counterbalance trucks in the Hyster® J2.2-3.5XN range (with 2.2-3.5 tonne lift capacity), for example, are designed to be equally suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They are well suited to operate over long shifts, with a stable chassis, rugged mast, and particularly durable and reliable components.
“Equipped with efficient AC technology in their drive and lifting mechanisms, these machines are every bit as efficient as comparable trucks with combustion engines,” says Karen Calver. Additionally, the use of electric trucks is cost-effective because the cost of ownership is significantly lower, after the purchase price of the batteries, and the trucks require less maintenance.
This is due to lower maintenance intervals and less wear on tyres, since the gentler acceleration of electric trucks eliminates wheelspin, which can occur on some forklift brands.
Higher torque for more power
With two 10 KW AC motors for the front-wheel drive, these four-wheel electric forklift trucks can travel at high speeds and change direction quickly. “The electric trucks’ responsiveness and handling, in terms of the torque for example, differ significantly from that of diesel trucks,” explains Karen Calver. “They are also agile, precise to manoeuvre and can be used in very tight spaces.”
Furthermore, the special design of the mast allows good visibility and for various ranges, Hyster now also offers seats with adjustable headrests and backrests, to enhance comfort and reduce vibrations.
Perfect for outdoor use
The powerful electric trucks in the Hyster J1.6-3.5XN series are available with different weather protection options. These include panels fixed to the overhead guard, efficiently adjustable fan heaters for heating in cold weather and ventilation in hot weather, and all steel cabs.
“These features make the machines suitable for even the most demanding applications both indoors and out,” says Karen Calver “This enables companies to be much more flexible in terms of the way they deploy their fleet.” Noise control features include a low-noise hydraulic pump, which reduces the noise level, and cuts down certain higher frequencies.
Compact electric trucks for loads up to 5.5 tonnes
Overall, Hyster has more compact electric trucks in use worldwide than any other manufacturer. The efficiency of today’s trucks is especially apparent in the new Hyster® E4.0-5.5XN range. In terms of their acceleration, torque and lifting capacity, these compact four-wheel electric trucks are just as powerful as a comparable combustion engine truck. These extremely rugged trucks are ideal for storage facilities, warehouses and in the food, drinks and automotive industries. With a highly stable chassis design, they are particularly durable and can lift loads of up to 5.5 tonnes.
Featuring an Eco-eLo mode which reduces energy consumption during intensive use while maintaining high power, the Hyster 4-5.5t models have some of the lowest energy consumptions in their class. This means an overall reduction in the cost of ownership and significantly decreased maintenance costs, which are also helped by the simplified access to the battery and components with easily removable floor and side panels.
In HiP (High Performance) mode, productivity and maximum speed have been further increased compared to the previous model. The new trucks now have a maximum speed of 17 km/h.
“The efficiency of electric trucks is increasing continuously. These trucks are considered the ‘workhorses’ of the electric truck range,” says Karen Calver. “They are productive, durable, energy-efficient and rugged with a low cost of ownership.”
A solution for any application
“Some of the biggest developments in recent years have been on electric trucks, which have taken great strides forward, and offer the toughness and reliability needed in all kinds of different work environments, but IC trucks have also developed” says Karen Calver.
“Hyster IC trucks are durable, powerful and offer a low cost of ownership, making them the ideal choice for many. Operations have lots of choice from Hyster as either type of truck can now be tailored to suit many specific, intense applications,” Karen adds.