Compare LPG forklift to hydrogen forklift. To understand the fuel and maintenance savings available by switching from a propane (LPG) forklift to a hydrogen forklift, calculate your savings below. Our savings calculator will help identify the costs of running a propane forklift compared to a hydrogen fuel cell forklift. Your savings are based on the information you provide and some key industry data points.
Propane forklifts are a very popular PIT (powered industrial forklift) in the United States. The reason is that the forklift is inexpensive to buy and easy to refuel. But most warehouse managers do not realize that the cost of forklift maintenance and the cost of fuel is far higher than an electric forklift that is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell.
Electric Forklifts Equipped with Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Compare LPG forklift to hydrogen forklift. Calculate your maintenance and fuel-saving below. You will find that LPG forklifts are far more expensive to run than electric forklifts powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Plug Power Sells Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Forklifts
Plug Power calls their fuel cells for forklifts, GenDrives.
GenDrive hydrogen fuel cells are designed specifically with material handling power in mind. As a drop-in replacement, our units fit into an existing electric lift truck’s battery compartment as a one-to-one battery replacement.
Fuel cells for forklifts allow you to drive productivity and streamline operations while maximizing forklift fleet uptime. They are also a good approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in warehousing.
Forklift Battery Model Decoder – if you are trying to find out the ampere-hour capacity of your forklift battery, look no further. You can calculate the ampere-hour capacity of your forklift battery here using just the model number of the battery for reference.
If you want to know the ampere-hour capacity of a forklift battery, the information is hiding in the battery model number. Use this handy decoder to unlock the secrets contained in the forklift battery model number.
Enter the forklift battery model number in the spaces provided below
Decode the model number of a lead-acid battery. This decoder will tell you the voltage and the ampere-hour capacity of your lead-acid battery based on information contained in the battery model number only.
Available Ampere-Hours in a Forklift Battery
Because a forklift battery is never supposed to be discharged below 80% depth of charge, meaning there is always supposed to be 20% AH left in the battery so that the battery is not damaged, the available ampere-hours is 80% of the total number of amps.
How to calculate the kilowatts (kW) in a forklift battery
Also shown below is the calculated (approximate) kilowatts in the battery. This is calculated by multiplying volts by the amps and then dividing it all by 1000.
Explanation of the meaning of the forklift battery model number
Here is a detailed explanation of the meaning of each component of the forklift battery model number.
18 refers to the number of cells. Multiply this by 2 to get the voltage of the battery: 36 volts in the case of our example.
125 refers to the number of amps per cell.
13 refers to the number of negative plates in a cell. Take 13, minus 1, and divide by 2. This equals 6. Now multiply the middle number (number of amps per cell) by half the last number (minus 1). In our example, the number is 6.
Many companies have no idea how much they are spending to charge a forklift battery. Costs are hidden, and difficult to calculate, until now. Use this online calculator to estimate the cost to charge batteries for forklifts.
Estimate the Cost to Charge your Electric Forklift Batteries – It is more than you think!
This calculator is provided to support your internal discussions about reducing operating costs in your warehouse. Please use this as an informal estimate only. Please consult with your accounting firm before making business decisions based on the information provided here.
The Data Points of Charging a Forklift Battery
Here are the key data points that will go into the calculation of the cost of charging a forklift battery.
Forklift battery voltage
Forklifts and lift trucks that fall into the category of PIT (powered industrial trucks) run on these voltages in North America:
80 volts (rarely)
In Europe, forklift voltages are often 80 volts.
Ampere hour of the forklift battery
The ampere hour capacity, also known as the AH of a battery, describes the total capacity of the battery’s cells. The ampere hours capacity, AH, is found hidden in the model number of the battery. To find out what the AH is of a forklift’s battery, follow the red cable from the connector up to the battery and then remove the plastic cover. The battery model number will be listed there.
Sometimes, there is a sticker on the side of the forklift battery noting the ampere-hour capacity of the battery.
How to Calculate the Ampere-Hour Storage Capacity of a Forklift Battery
There is a lot of information available in the forklift battery model number. To calculate the energy storage capacity of a battery, take the middle number from the model number and times by the last number once you have subtracted 1 and divided it in half. Here is an example:
The efficiency of a forklift charger is based on the Average Power Conversion Efficiency, which means the ratio of DC output power to AC input power. Said another way, it is the comparison of the AC kWh drawn from the wall versus the number of DC kWh that are delivered to the battery.
The Columbic Efficiency of a Forklift Battery
The efficiency of a battery to accept a charge is what is called Coulomb’s Law. The coulombic efficiency is the rate at which electrons transfer.
If you are charging a lithium-ion battery, use 99%. Otherwise, 85% is a good number to use for a lead-acid forklift battery. If you are fast charging the battery, decrease the efficiency (less that 85%). If the battery is newer and being charged in a cooled area, raise it to 90%. Remember, the ability of a battery to accept a charge will never be 100%, so you need to discount the energy being received into the battery. The older the forklift battery, the hotter it charges at, the faster you try to charge it, and the greater than 70% you complete the charge with, the lower your coulombic efficiency will be.
If you think you are paying only 10 cents per kW, but you are charging all your Lithium-ion batteries all at the same time when the team goes on break at 11 am, you can be certain your entire day will be charged at the peak demand rate you were paying at 11 am.
Commercial customers typically face demand charges ($/kW) based on their peak demand during each billing period. This peak demand is usually defined as the highest average electricity usage occurring within a defined time interval (often 15 minutes) during the billing period. For many commercial customers, demand charges can account for 30 to 70 percent of the total charges on a monthly electric bill. Demand charge rates vary considerably across utilities, locations, building sizes, and building types. Because peak demand is based on how and when a customer uses electricity, even two customers that consume similar amounts of electricity and are billed under the same utility rate may incur vastly different demand charge expenses, depending on their peak demand.
So, if your normal rate is 10 cents per kWh, divide it by .3 in order to gross the amount up by 70%.
Enter the number of lift trucks (forklifts, pallet jacks, turret trucks)
A lift truck is the term we use to refer to PIT (powered industrial trucks). Count the number of units in your material handling fleet. This will impact the cost to charge forklift batteries.
The number of forklift batteries to charge
How many batteries do you have for your PIT fleet? Do you have only one battery per lift truck? Then this number is likely the same as the number you entered for lift trucks. If it is more, then you are likely changing batteries. If it is the same, you are likely opportunity-charging batteries. If you have a single shift, it is possible that you are simply parking your lift trucks and charging them.
Use this calculator to look up the approximate retail price for a forklift battery based on the forklift type.
These forklift battery prices are based on published prices as of December 2020. You can expect a 3% to 5% price increase each year.
Forklift Battery Price
Look up the price of a forklift battery by selecting the type of lift truck, and then the width of the battery compartment in inches. The width dimension refers to the number of inches that the forklift battery measures down the length of the forklift from the front to the back of the forklift battery compartment. It is not the width of the forklift, but the length of the forklift battery compartment space (only).
If you are trying to estimate the costs to maintain a forklift battery. look no further. This forklift battery maintenance cost calculator will model for you the costs that go into the proper maintenance of a forklift battery and a forklift battery charger.
The Cost to Water Forklift Batteries
Battery companies will water your batteries for a charge. Using competitive battery watering service pricing, our calculator will estimate the cost to water your batteries on a regular basis.
Batteries need watering based the charging schedule. Batteries require water because during the charging cycle, the charger breaks apart the bonds of the water molecule into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen. Those gases then escape from the battery into the atmosphere reducing the amount of water in the battery.
Your battery maintnenance technician then returns the water to each cell roughly every 2-weeks, but as often as every week in busy work applications.
The Cost to Repair Battery and Charger Connectors and Cables
Every time a forklift battery is charged, the charger and forklift connectors are inserted into each other to begin the charging process. Once the charge connection is complete, the cables are separated. Often, operators pull the connectors apart by the cables, damaging the cable insulation, the charger wire tips, and putting stress on the SB connectors. If the operator drops the connectors to the ground after the charging even, the connectors risk cracking, and the cables risk being damaged by forklifts rolling over the cables. We estimate that the cost to keep connectors and cables in good repair is $130/year. You can change this amount up or down.
Annual Battery Wash
Companies that perform regular battery washes save money in the long run. When acid escapes from the battery cells, it accumulates between the cells, at the bottom of the tray, and on the edges of the tray. Over time, it cause the tray to corrode and weaken. That is why many companies elect to wash their batteries.
Forklift Charger Maintenance
Many forklift and charger service companies offer an annual charger service. This usually involves an inspection and blowing out the cabinet. It is usually a good idea to have your chargers inspected regularly.
To estimate the annual and monthly forklift maintenance costs, use our forklift maintenance and repair costs estimator below.
You will need to know how many operating hours you will use. Like miles on a car, the operating hours on a forklift determine the service and repair intervals for a forklift. The more you use a forklift, the more you can expect the maintenance costs to go up.
How to Estimate the Cost of Forklift Maintenance
Every forklift dealer has historical data on what it costs to maintain a forklift based on hours. They use the cost per operating hour to determine how much a full maintenance contract will cost. Using this guide, forklift dealers and repair companies can accurately estimate the retail price for forklift maintenance.
Failing Forklift Batteries Increase the Cost of Forklift Maintenance
When a battery if fully charged, the voltage of the battery is usually a few volts higher than the nominal voltage. What that means is that the voltage of a 36 volt battery is often 38 volts or more when fully charged.
Similarly, and discharged battery does to produce the same voltage. The drop in voltage can be 4 volts less than the nominal voltage. Therefore, a 36 volt battery can be as low as 32 volts when discharged.
As Volts Decrease Amps Increase to Maintain Current
Your forklift draws current to run. When volts reduce, amps increase to deliver the same current. Therefore, as the a battery discharges, the voltage lessens ang the amps increase, putting greater strain on the electrical components inside a forklift truck.
Therefore, expect the price of forklift maintenance to increase when a battery underperforms.
Fuel Cells Deliver a Constant Voltage and Reduce the Cost of Forklift Maintenance
Fuel cells for forklifts deliver a constant voltage, usually about 40-volts for a 36-volt lift truck. This keeps amps low and reduces the heating and cooling cycle that damages electrical components, adding to maintenance costs.
Use our calculator below to estimate the cost to maintain a forklift and the estimated maintenance savings you can expect from converting your fleet from batteries to hydrogen fuel cells. Add an estimated additional 14% (28% total maintenance savings) when switching from internal combustion forklifts to electric forklifts equipped with fuel cells. The reason is electric forklifts cost approximately 14% less to maintain compared to the equivalent I.C. model.
Looking to know what dimension to use for a Reach Truck aisle? Not sure how far apart to set racking when using a reach fork truck? Wondering: how wide does a reach truck aisle need to be? Use this handy calculator to estimate the aisle needed for a reach truck to operate.
Estimate the Minimum Reach Truck Aisle
Deploying Reach Trucks in a warehouse can increase pallet storage capacity significantly, but make sure the aisles are wide enough without being too wide. This calculator will help you quickly calculate the space a reach truck needs to maneuver in a narrow aisle.
How much space do you need between racks to operate a reach truck safely?
Most people, if asked what aisle a reach truck needs to operate safely in would say, 9 feet. But there are a lot of parameters at play when spec’ing a warehouse aisle that needs to be considered. Such items include the following:
Reach Truck Aisle – Parameters that Impact the Warehouse Aisle Dimension
Check these items when designing the aisle dimension for a Reach Truck. Also, we have included other helpful tips to avoid mistakes when incorporating a reach truck into your racking design.
Length of Load
Consider the length of the pallet any product overhang on the pallet. The pallet might be a 48×40 pallet, but the product on top of the pallet might easily be 50″ x 42″. These dimensions will impact the narrow-aisle lift truck’s storage aisle dimension.
Width of Load
Notice if the product protrudes over the sides of the pallet. This will impact the baseleg opening needed.
Also, be careful, if the product sags below the height of the pallet and the baselegs straddle the pallet, the baselegs may scrap on the product. If the product is rice, flour, sugar, or other types of sacks of product, the baselegs may tear the bags. Request low-profile base legs, or do not straddle the pallet in these cases. If you decide not to straddle the pallet, make sure you have enough lift-off on the first level to lift the pallet off the ground and clear the baselegs.
Reach Truck Capacity
The mast on a higher capacity reach truck is an inch wider than the lower capacity reach truck. The wider mast makes the reach truck longer and therefore impacts the aisle dimension
If you want to move quickly, you will need more space in the aisle. We refer to this added space as maneuverability. Generally, we add an additional 12 inches to the aisle dimension to ensure the reach truck can move easily without hitting the product on the adjacent racking. It is possible to operate a reach truck in the engineered minimum, however, it is not easy and will add to the stress of the operator. Additionally, it will result in the possibility of increased rack damage, product damage, and will reduce productivity.
Baseleg opening (BLO)
Also known as outrigger inside dimension, the opening between the reach truck’s base legs impacts the aisle dimension. If the dimension is greater than 41″, add an inch to the width of the operating aisle.
If you do not have enough lift off on the first level (ground level), you will need a 41″ baseleg opening to straddle the load (if it is a 40″ wide pallet and load). Baselegs are usually welded onto the bottom of the mast, so this is a costly error if you need to change the baseleg opening width or raise beam heights throughout the warehouse (usually at least $7 per beam moved).
Height of the Pallet Load on the Ground Level
Many material handling professionals do not think about lift-off on the ground level. If the pallet is 50″ tall and the first beam level is at 60″, then that means that the 4″ beam minus the 10″ difference provides only 6″ for liftoff. Reach trucks have baselegs that are 5″ tall. So you need at least 6″ to clear the 4″ high pallet over the 5″ high baselegs. That won’t leave enough room at the top of the pallet below the first beam level.
So the operator is forced to back out of the pallet storage location 48″ in order to be able to raise the pallet above the baselegs and retract the pantograph (scissor mechanism). In a 9′ 4″ aisle, you won’t have enough room.
12″ of lift-off above the top of the first pallet and below the first load beam (50″ tall pallet + 12″ lift-off + 4″ tall beam = 66″ 1st beam level height). – OR –
A baseleg opening (outrigger inside dimension) of 1″ greater than the width of the load.
Battery compartment size
Reach trucks come with various different battery compartment sizes to allow for longer shift life and increased capacity retention as the forklift lifts its load (pallet) higher in the air. The more lead (Pb) in the battery compartment, the higher the weight capacity at full lift height. This is also called down-rating or d-rating. The wider the battery compartment, the longer the chassis length, and therefore, the wider the truck aisle needs to be.
Depth of the upright frame
Although the depth of the upright frame does not impact the width of the clear aisle, it is important to know when you are planning a warehouse and you are deciding where to put the racking. The aisle dimension is called the rack-to-rack dimension. It is different from the clear aisle dimension, also known as the product-to-product aisle. If the pallet overhangs the upright frame, (48″ pallet on a 42″ upright frame overhangs 3″ per side), the be sure to set your racks 6″ further apart than the clear aisle dimension needed.
Calculate the Aisle Needed for A Reach Truck
This calculator is provided for estimates only. Please contact us for a formal proposal with exact aisle dimensions. The other option is to contact the manufacturer of the reach truck to receive the aisle specification in writing from their engineers.
Now you know what aisle dimension you need for your Reach Truck to work in, use our online calculators to compare the number of pallets you can store in a warehouse using different aisle dimensions. Estimate pallet storage – click here!
Other considerations for Reach Trucks
If the height of the first beam level in the racking is above 53″, there is the possibility for the beam to enter into the operator’s compartment. Some forklift manufacturers offer a vertical guard post between the top of the rear of the operator’s compartment and the underside of the overhead guard. This will prevent the beam from entering into the operator’s compartment when the reach truck is backing up tractor first.
The height of the load backrest on a reach truck is usually 36″, although it can be taller. Be careful. Sometimes, when you are picking up a very low pallet off the top beam, the backrest can be taller than the load and hit the sprinkler.
When picking up a pallet off the top load beam, ensure there is at least 12″ of fork elevation taller than the height of the top load beam. Sometimes, a reach truck with the same fork elevation as a sitdown will not be able to pick up a pallet off the top beam even when a sitdown forklift can. This is because a reach truck does not have mast-tilt. Without mast-tilt, it can be difficult to lift a pallet off the top beam with a reach truck. Additionally, you do not want to strain the lift motors every time you lift the forks to the top position if it can be avoided. Place a pallet at the maximum height the reach truck can lift will strain the hydraulics. Allow for a few extra inches of lift above the maximum lift height you need. But beware of hitting the ceiling with the top of the load. Too much fork elevation can also be an issue.
How to drive a Reach Truck in a Narrow Aisle
Here is a newly trained operator learning and practicing how to operate a reach truck in a 104″ clear aisle. Watch this video to learn how to operate a reach truck correctly in a narrow aisle. The aisle shown is a 9′ 4″ rack to rack dimension (112″). The clear aisle (the space between pallets) is 104″.
Be sure to position the baseleg 8″ off the front of the racking and pivot into place. Like parallel parking a car, it takes technique and practice. Be sure to use the correct technique. Be sure to practice safely until you are comfortable driving a reach truck the way it was designed to be driven.
Contact us for a quotation for professional forklift training in your local market.