Efficiency and Savings: The Future of the Electric Forklift


When you think about the future of electric technology, your mind may wander to the leading brands in electric cars and automation. Sleek design. Technology. Safety. Innovation. Efficiency. These are all components of equipment that are setting the standard for manufacturing industries and its consumers.

Electric equipment is not confined to all things automotive, though. The behind-the-scenes manufacturing equipment that move these products are catching up in the race toward green and electric operations. Electric forklifts are an emerging leader in material handling, and Fraza is working hard to support that trend and bring innovation to our customers.

After decades in the material handling industry, I’ve seen firsthand the implementation of the electric equipment initiative. And as the General Sales Manager at Fraza, I’m proud to be driving our organization to the forefront of it.

With our customers as our motivation for understanding the best ways possible to move their product, here are the main benefits I’ve found for organizations and the material handling industry, as a whole, to go electric:

Electric Forklifts Bring Cost Savings

While the cost for a battery and charger will increase the upfront costs when purchasing an electric forklift, it’s important for organizations to understand the investment they’re making and how that will bring long-term savings. Companies that get a lot of usage out of their trucks make an investment because it’s a matter of having more efficient run time, repair costs and general overall costs of operation. This affects the bottom line in multiple ways.

The cost savings for an electric forklift is two-fold:
• Fuel savings – We can do an analysis to project cost savings in 5 year increments, and in some cases with larger fleets, customers can see anywhere from a quarter to a half million dollars in fuel savings.
• Maintenance – We’re seeing the need for fewer parts – with a more robust control system, certain elements of the truck do not need to be replaced frequently. For example, because of the auto-brake system, the brakes are rarely applied and can get up to 10,000 hours of use.

When it comes to comparing the costs of an electric unit versus an IC unit, it’s best put like this: when going electric, you will pay a little higher at the beginning. However, you’re essentially paying for your fuel fees up front and, eventually, saving on both fuel and service down the line.

The “you get what your pay for” phrase is especially true in this case.

Better Technology Means More Safety Measures

Warehouse and forklift operator safety is becoming more important (and more closely watched) with each passing year. With the improved technology that newer state-of-the-art electric equipment is equipped with, safety measures are at an all-time high.

With better technology, engineers can build safety precautions directly into the equipment. This includes better curve control, blue lights, and speed acceleration controls.

With higher expectations placed on safety, companies are able to prioritize employee safety while still capitalizing on the financial benefits that come with implementing an electric fleet into their operations.

Catching Up to the Big Three

The Big Three automotive manufacturers have been setting the stage for the electric movement. For the last 30 years, their fleets have been primarily (over 90%) electric, and other manufacturers are finally catching up with 70% of material handling equipment being electric. If it’s any indication of the benefits, the Big Three realized the cost savings early on and have not turned back.

From our experience as a dealership, and from what I’ve seen leading the electric initiative for our organization, it’s becoming easier to show companies the array of benefits that come with transitioning to an electric fleet. It’s not a matter of if the transition will happen, it’s a matter of when.

It’s About More Than Going Electric…It’s Your Bottom Line and a Greater Cause

As a full service material handling provider, we have experts analyzing everything from equipment, and materials flow and throughput, to storage and retrieval. A common theme we see from top to bottom is the role electric equipment will play in material handling from here on out.

With cost savings, increased safety measures and becoming part of a larger trend that impacts individuals, manufacturers and the environment positively, it’s not easy to ignore the power of electric equipment. It’s an exciting time, and I’m proud to be involved in the electric equipment department at Fraza!