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Converting from IC Forklifts to Electric Forklifts

Converting from IC Forklifts to Electric Forklifts

Posted on July 22, 2021

Whether it is Converting from Internal Combustion (LPG and Diesel) power to Battery Power or

upgrading from Lead Acid Batteries to Lithium Batteries the questions abound on what is fact and what is fiction.

Having enough industry experience to get in trouble; here are some questions I hear daily from end users:

  • How much can I save if I convert from LPG Forklifts to Battery?
  • If I convert from LPG to Electric what power source is right for me?
  • What if I run out of power in the middle of my shift?
  • How can I justify the high cost of Thin Plate Pure Lead or Lithium?
  • Is Lithium the only type of Battery/Power alternative to Lead Acid?
  • Can I just put a Lithium Battery in my existing Electric Forklift?

In this six-part series I will tackle these topics and more with what I have learned from the field and provide resources where you can find additional information, facts and assistance.


Converting from IC to Electric


Converting from LPG or Diesel to Battery power is much more viable today than ever. Technology is gaining and improving at an alarming rate. Whenever this happens the misinformation and interim marketing BS seems to permeate the industry. It all started with Opportunity Charging or Fast Charging. The premise was you could run an Electric Forklift just like an LPG forklift by constantly charging your Lead Acid Batteries. They failed to mention this would ruin your batteries in short order.


The fact is, if you are considering changing from LPG or Diesel to Electric you need to make an educated decision. This requires a Power Study. There are various resources but the best way I know is to contact your Battery Supplier and request one. They will at no charge visit your facility and if indicated create a report on run hours and shift usage. The data taken can be fed into a spreadsheet which factors in Fuel Usage, Maintenance and Electrical Infrastructure. What you need to have is information related to the study. How much do you spend on LPG? It’s amazing how many end users don’t know.


What did you spend in the last 12 months on Forklift Maintenance or what’s your cost per hour? How much does electricity cost your company for a Kilowatt Hour? If you don’t know these facts then they will need to be estimated. The more you know the more accurate the study will be.

Once the study is completed you can see just how much you would save and begin the ROI process. I’ve seen these studies where a substantial savings is indicated and others that say stick with what you’ve got.

A huge saving is not always the answer but at least now you know and can answer any executive with an informed response.


Resources to seek: Enersys, White Paper, Clark Plant Survey Form