The forklift truck market has seen a noticeable shift away from diesel in recent years, with many in the industry now favouring LPG for their fleet. The Manufacturer finds out why.
When it comes to powering forklift truck (FLT) fleets, logistics and manufacturing businesses have traditionally had three options: liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and electricity (via battery).
In the past, diesel has been the most popular – partly because diesel-powered FLT engines have a reputation for durability. Electric trucks are also liked by some.
Now though, more and more operations are choosing LPG.
So what are the benefits of LPG over diesel and electric?
Upfront & ongoing costs
First and foremost, it’s financial. The upfront costs associated with LPG-powered trucks are much lower than with electric ones.
To start with, there’s no need to purchase costly batteries and recharging equipment, or pay for battery disposal. There’s also no need to construct recharging bays which can be expensive and take up valuable space. Then, in comparison to diesel, an LPG-powered FLT typically costs far less to run, so your business starts benefitting from ongoing savings straightaway.
Financials aside, LPG is a much cleaner-burning fuel than diesel, which means your engines will generally last longer. It also won’t leave residual soot on the materials your FLTs handle, which is a particular plus for businesses moving products such as food, pharmaceuticals and textiles.
LPG also produces fewer PM10 particles (which have been linked to respiratory problems), as well as emitting less CO2 – which is good news for your workforce, and for meeting legally binding carbon reduction criteria.
Reliability & refuelling
Then it comes to reliability. Unlike electricity, which can be susceptible to power cuts in some parts of the country, LPG offers a consistent supply all year round. This means you don’t have to worry about extreme weather conditions interrupting your operations.
From a logistical point of view, LPG also allows for faster refuelling, as you won’t have to factor in time to recharge batteries (which can result in unplanned, and unproductive, downtime). Refuelling LPG-powered FLTs is quick and hassle-free.
This is especially true of some of the latest specialist products coming to market.
For example, Flogas Britain, one of the UK’s leading LPG suppliers, has recently introduced Gaslight cylinders, which are almost half the weight of traditional LPG cylinders, but with very similar volumes.
This makes it even easier to refuel and reduces the risk of manual handling injuries. Their translucent toughened plastic and fibreglass composition means they’re also extremely robust, and crucially, allows you to see exactly how much fuel you have left.
Power & flexibility
Last but not least, LPG-powered FLTs stand head and shoulders above their diesel and electric counterparts in terms of power and flexibility. This is because they typically have a better power-to-weight ratio and more responsive engines, meaning they can adapt to tackle a variety of difficult tasks.
What’s more, unlike diesel FLTs, which can’t be used inside, and electric ones which aren’t suitable for prolonged periods of outdoor use, LPG-powered FLTs are ideal for both indoor and outdoor jobs. Importantly, this means your staff only needs to be trained to operate one type of FLT, not two, and of course you can consolidate your fleet, reducing maintenance costs.
So, with the shift away from diesel set to continue, the case for LPG is clear; it can save you money, cut your emissions, improve your efficiency, and on top of all that, deliver power and flexibility that is superior to diesel and electric trucks.