Electric forklifts, or lift trucks, have been material-handling workhorses for years. Recent technology advances have boosted electric forklift performance and utility, enabling them to compete with internal combustion (IC) counterparts indoors and out, while delivering energy and emissions benefits and substantial cost savings over their lifetime.
How do they work?
Electric forklifts operate just like conventional IC lift trucks but are powered by industrial batteries instead of propane, diesel, natural gas, or gasoline fuel and use power electronics-based motor controllers to control travel and hoist functions.
Forklifts are classified by vehicle design and power source, and by their use. Class 1, 2, and 3 trucks are electric. Class 1 forklifts are counterbalanced rider trucks with typical lift capacity of 3,000 to 20,000 lbs. Some models can lift 40,000 lbs. A Class 2 narrow-aisle forklift typically has a 3,000 to 5,500 lbs. lift capacity, with high reach capacity. Class 3 forklifts are electric hand/rider or pallet trucks. Class 4 and 5 trucks are IC.