Electric forklifts, the future of UK Net Zero warehouse logistics?


The electric forklift market has been gaining momentum and importance within the logistics market for years now. Even before governments started making pledges to reduce carbon emissions, the rising costs of fuel and advances in technology meant that electric trucks were becoming more common in warehouses looking to reduce their operating costs and improve productivity. Now, in the wake of the historic COP26 summit and the renewed focused on sustainability, it seems that the rise of the electric forklift couldn’t have been more timely.

Diesel-powered trucks have traditionally been the preferred method of MHE, but the rising costs of diesel and new taxes designed to discourage its use means that electric forklifts are fast becoming not just an alternative, but an essential replacement. With advantages like generating no emissions or noise pollution, better operational visibility and the ability to perform virtually the same tasks as an internal combustion trucks.

Electric fleets for carbon neutral warehouses

Electric forklifts themselves produce no pollution during operation and a warehouse fleet can run entirely carbon neutral if it’s powered by electricity from green and sustainable sources. With stringent government policies coming into effect, businesses will soon be forced to adopt these green-powered options thanks to hefty taxes to continue with internal combustion trucks or outright bans in certain industries.

Advances in technology mean that lithium-ion batteries can now power trucks through entire shifts without the need for recharging and shorter charge times can have fully-charged trucks back out on the floor within a couple of hours. All this investment in electric batteries means they are fast becoming a cost-effective option in terms of initial investment as well as operating costs, with the price of Li-Ion batteries decreasing year on year (and projected to fall further still as new developments enter the market).

Perfect for indoor, compact warehouses

Another advantage of electric forklifts in warehousing has come about through the property boom experienced in the UK post-2020. It isn’t just residential property that has seen huge price increases – warehouse space is also at a premium. Relocating to new premises is a costly business and so businesses will increasingly look to maximise their space and staff. In this new world of high-output and 24/7 operations, a lot of warehousing space is now indoors; aisles are narrower, shelving racks are higher and storage capacity is full. In this environment, the warehouse fleet and MHE needs to be agile, suitable for working in enclosed spaces, narrow aisles and operate with precision in a pollution-free environment.


Electric is the future

With the UK pushing ahead with its target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and many European countries either following suit or drastically reducing their carbon emissions, electric forklifts aren’t simply something to dabble in when it come to the vehicle fleet. They are soon going to be an essential part of warehouse operations.

A 2020 survey by GlobalData revealed that 45% of consumers actively seek environmentally-friendly products, and it’s likely that figure is only going to go up as climate change shapes government policy and individual choices.

The STILL range of electric forklifts; the RX 20, the RX 50 and the RX 60, all offer high-performance, fully-electric running options. As more warehouses move towards partially or fully electric fleets, we’ve been able to provide the right solution for their situation and allow our customers to operate in as eco-friendly a manner as possible.

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