Today we are taking a look at electric and diesel powered forklift trucks. These two are considered to be the more ‘traditional’ types of internal combustion engine forklift trucks commonplace in many warehousing environments.

Diesel powered forklift truck

The first diesel engine was developed by Rudolf Diesel, who registered a patent for “Method of and Apparatus for Converting Heat into Work”. The method is that the ‘combustion engine’ compresses air in order to raise its temperature above that of the fuels igniting-point. Fuel is then introduced into the engine which then provides the ‘combustion’ which then creates energy.

Suitable for different environments

Diesel powered forklift trucks are best used in an outdoor environment as their exhaust fumes and diesel particulates can be harmful. Inhaling diesel fumes is obviously not good for you!

However, diesel powered forklift trucks really come into their own during the winter. They can be used in bad weather conditions – anything from wind, snow and rain.

Cheap to run

Diesel forklift trucks are also very cheap to run. Diesel has always been the cheapest type of fuel when compared to its more expensive sibling LPG (liquified petroleum gas). Fuel is the biggest cost to account for when running a forklift and the fact that this comes so cheap is a massive plus.

Electric powered forklift truck

Electricity powered forklift trucks are considered to be the ‘greener’ choice for logistics companies as they produce no fumes or carbon emissions.

The electric powered motor was created by a Scottish monk named Andrew Gordon, it is thought that he developed it sometime during the 1740’s but it was British physicist and chemist Michael Faraday who modernised and developed the motor that we know today.


As well as being energy efficient, the electric powered forklift truck also works brilliantly in indoor conditions. This is partly because the electric engine creates a small amount of noise which will come as a blessing to anyone who has ever worked in a noisy warehousing environment.

Electric powered forklift trucks are also incredibly easy to drive when compared to their diesel counterparts. The reason why they are so simple to operate is that there is no clutch or engine revving involved. You just start the engine and go!

Extra costings

However, electric forklift trucks are more expensive than diesel forklift trucks. This is because you need to counter the batteries and chargers into the initial purchase cost. However, you will make the extra cost back as they are on a whole – cheaper to run than a diesel forklift truck.

Both diesel and electric forklift trucks are fantastic pieces of warehousing equipment. They each feature their own pluses and minuses. However, it is up to you to decide which forklift truck will be best suited for your business’s needs.

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