When you are in the market for forklift trucks, we know how challenging it can be to find the perfect fit for your facility. There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a dealer, a manufacturer, mast height and weight capacity – but for forklift fuel type, there’s just three to choose from. Each one has its perks and drawbacks, depending on the usage and environment, and we’ve laid them out here so you aren’t left wondering if you made the right choice.

Electric

Electric forklift trucks are much more environmentally friendly compared to diesel and LPG. As well as being fume free, they are also known for their quiet and manoeuvrable nature. While they are considerably cheap to power, the forklift battery and charger can bring the initial cost higher than a diesel or LPG powered truck. They are best-placed in operations that have the time and space to allow for recharging the forklift batteries.

With other manufacturers, electric forklifts are more suited for indoor use, but the Mitsubishi EDiA range is suitable for use inside and outside. The IP54 rating on Mitsubishi electric trucks means they are better protected from the rain than a diesel or LPG truck, which are traditionally used outside.

It’s common knowledge that electric doesn’t mix well with water, so that’s why Mitsubishi invest effort into ensuring our electrics have a high IP rating. The ignition and electrical systems on IC engine trucks aren’t protected to the same levels, making them much more vulnerable than electric-powered forklifts.

Diesel

Forklift trucks with diesel engines are popular for their fuel efficiency, but are traditionally best used outside due to the exhaust fumes. Diesel forklifts are robust and operate better on gradients compared to their LPG and electric counterparts. The average fuel tank is around 50 litres, and this is likely to last longer than an 18kg bottle of LPG in the same application. For this reason, diesels are a popular choice for facilities with continuous forklift activity in harsh conditions.

British Salt took on two Mitsubishi diesel trucks for their slippery and corrosive environment. Reliable, powerful and fast, the trucks’ low emissions make them ideal for the client to use both indoors and outdoors.

For even more control of the fuel efficiency, every diesel truck in the Mitsubishi Grendia range can be fitted with our Electronic Diesel Control System (EDC). Diesel forklifts installed with EDC systems have overall improved fuel economy, plus lower noise, vibrations and emissions.

LPG

With more responsive engines and improved power to weight ratios, LPG (liquified petroleum gas) forklifts have long been the popular choice. Their competitive initial cost and their suitability for both indoor and outdoor use makes them a good balance between their diesel and electric equivalents.

Mitsubishi LPG forklift trucks are renowned for their fuel efficiency, thanks to their closed-loop three-stage catalytic converter which significantly reduces carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions – as well as 95% of dangerous NOx gases – making it the cleanest-running machine on the market.

Some businesses, however, are concerned with the fuel wasted when LPG bottles are replaced before they are empty. The vast majority of LPG forklifts have no way of telling how much fuel is left in the bottle. Without a gauge, even if they are left to almost empty when changed, the wasted fuel left in the bottle can mount up to potentially hundreds of pounds a year. The operator that starts his shift may also just automatically change the bottle whether it is near-empty or not, but using bulk LPG storage tanks, operators refill the bottles at a station, so nothing is ever lost.

Talk to Jofson about cutting costs, minimising manual handling, reducing waste and improving productivity with our bulk LPG storage tank scheme and Mitsubishi LPG powered equipment.

Making the switch

If you are currently using a particular fuel type, changing to an alternative is not as difficult as you might think. Thanks to fuel prices, dieselgate, battery and charger technology, changes in the automotive sector and concerns over NOx – the zeitgeist of the modern world now seems to be in electric’s favour. While electrics require space for chargers and the cost of extra batteries can sometimes put people off, battery technology is continuously improving, and although it hasn’t happened yet, electric has been seen for some time as likely to overtake engine sales.

Your choice

There are pros and cons for every fuel type, but which is best suited for your operation ultimately depends on the environment, the usage and any special requirements. For a detailed recommendation, you can contact Jofson, where an expert will be on hand to advise you on the best fleet for your facility.