According to Narrow Aisle Ltd – the Flexi Truck VNA articulated lift truck-based intralogistics solutions specialist – ongoing worries over the impact of LPG engine emissions on both workers’ health and the environment coupled with fears that the UK Government is set to send diesel-powered lift truck running costs skywards by banning the use of red diesel in forklifts, are among the factors causing more and more warehouse operators to specify electric-powered Flexi trucks featuring lithium-ion battery technology.
“Over the last three years or so there has been a major change in attitudes to forklift power sources. Lithium-ion battery technology has come of age at precisely the right time to meet the market’s environmental, productivity and safety demands,” says John Maguire, Narrow Aisle Ltd’s managing director.
He continues: “Of course, lead-acid batteries remain a highly efficient option for electric forklifts and the majority of electric Flexi Truck lift trucks still feature this type of battery, but Lithium-ion technology is now regarded as ideally suited to the needs of modern, 24/7 logistics and e-fulfilment operations.”
“Time and again, companies that we are working with explain that they are evaluating the environmental impact of their logistics operations and, as a result, are looking to replace conventional diesel and LPG fleets with cleaner, more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient Flexi Truck alternatives.”
Earlier this year Narrow Aisle announced that as part of its corporate responsibility towards the environment, it was no longer offering LP Gas-powered Flexi Truck models. Narrow Aisle is understood to have been the first warehouse truck manufacturer to drop LPG-powered articulated units from its product portfolio.
“Sales of IC engine forklifts have been in decline for a number of years due in part to concerns over workers’ health and the wider environmental impact of engine emissions,” says John Maguire.
“The cost of running LPG articulated truck fleets in comparison with Flexi Trucks driven by advanced battery-electric technology, also contributed significantly to the fall-off in demand,” he adds.
Meanwhile, anxiety that the Government’s plan to ban the use of red diesel in forklifts will lead to hefty increases in diesel-powered truck running costs, are depressing sales of diesel trucks across the UK market.
John Maguire explains: “In the March 2021 budget Rishi Sunak announced that from 1st April 2022 companies operating across a number of sectors and user groups – including transport and logistics – will no longer be able to use red diesel to fuel diesel-powered machinery such as forklift trucks. So diesel-powered IC engine forklift running costs will increase.
“When planning any new facility or new forklift fleet investment, warehouse operators need to take a number of significant factors into account – not the least of which is the running costs of the materials handling equipment. This means calculating the cost of running a truck over an entire lifetime of its use – rather than just basing purchasing strategy on the lowest up-front cost.”
Narrow Aisle Ltd’s Flexi LiTHiON range of lithium-ion powered articulated warehouse trucks are a popular choice among a wide range of customer groups. The Flexi LiTHiON requires zero maintenance and delivers extended multi-shift availability – making the trucks the ideal ‘green’ energy solution for modern order fulfilment operations, retail warehouses, temperature-controlled stores, chemical stores and automotive manufacturing facilities.