Diesel Vs Lithium Electric Forklifts

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As technology continues to be upgraded, it is often changed for the better. Sometimes older technology may still have some benefits, but overall newer technology often makes the item in question easier to use and more efficient in its task. When it comes to forklifts, Lithium Electric batteries are the newest fuel source for them. Their multiple benefits put them ahead of older fuel sources such as diesel. In this article, we will break down the benefits of both diesel and electric forklifts to see where each stand regarding varying areas of performance.

Fuel Source

Going green used to be dreamed about – it is available now in Australia.  Lithium Electric Forklifts are the way of the future and with that thought in mind, Lithium Electric Forklifts stand miles ahead of Diesel forklifts. Lithium forklifts produce zero emissions, which not only makes them great for the environment but also great for worker safety. Traditionally, when a forklift is operated that runs on gas or diesel, the warehouse must be ventilated to ensure worker safety isn’t compromised during the use of the machine. Lithium forklifts do not require any ventilation since they do not produce any fumes, therefore putting them ahead of diesel forklifts.


When it comes to recharging or refueling, the two fuel sources are similar regarding the ease in which both can be recharged or refueled. Lithium-ion batteries are not like the old lead acid batteries where the forklift needs to be charged fully before it can operate again. These batteries are capable of top up charging, which means that if they lose their charge during a shift, they can be plugged in and charged during a lunch break and be ready to go again afterwards. This gives them an advantage over diesel forklifts as they can easily be charged within a warehouse, whereas diesel forklifts would require the user to go to an external fuel supply source which costs money to have on site whilst removing the EPA and environmental hazards from the worksite.


In respect to power, diesel forklifts are still the more reliable fuel source in this sense. While both a 2.5t lithium electric and 2.5t diesel forklift will be able to lift the same weight, a diesel forklift will be able to transport that load slightly easier. When operating on a gradient above 20 degrees, a lithium electric forklift may struggle to make it up while a diesel forklift will be able to move against the gradient.


Lithium electric forklifts can be charged through a 240v or 415v charger right in the warehouse. This removes all expensive diesel fuel costs from your business. By not needing to purchase diesel fuel, customers are able to save thousands of dollars per year with a lithium electric forklift. Whether a customer goes through a tank of fuel every week or every month, they will still see significant savings when switching to lithium electric.


Lithium forklifts also have the advantage over diesel forklifts regarding maintenance, as once the forklift leaves the factory, the battery inside does not need to be touched again. This means that on top of saving on fuel costs, customers with a lithium electric forklift are also able to save on servicing costs as there are no maintenance costs involved with the battery.

Lift Capacity

In the past, Diesel forklifts used to be at an advantage in this regard. In 2022 , Lithium electric forklifts are now available up to 25 ton, matching diesel forklifts in the high majority of customer requirements.

Overall, both forklifts have advantages when examining the fuel sources, they use. Lithium electrics are evolving to become the key solution to hazardous high emission diesel forklifts. Want to know more? Read one of our other articles on common forklift questions or get in contact with our team today.

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