Chicagoland targeted for lift fleet conversion program

EnerSys® has launched a national program, starting in the Chicago area, specifically designed to educate and help companies using internal combustion lift trucks to convert to electric fleets. Converting can save the average user $6,300 per truck, per year, in fuel alone.

While consumer electric cars still face many barriers to mass acceptance, battery-powered industrial lift trucks have become the preferred option for many businesses, large and small. Electric power is more efficient, provides significant cost savings, plus there are considerable environmental benefits.

The Convert to ElectricSM (C2ESM) program is the first and only dedicated conversion program in the industry. The Chicago area was selected for the program launch because it is a leading center of industry, manufacturing and retail — all businesses that require forklift fleets.

“We’ve done the research, and we’ve already seen just how much customers can save — in energy, time, maintenance, labor and hard-dollars — by converting their lift-truck fleets to electric,” said Mark Tomaszewski, at EnerSys. “Customers who have operated both systems have found electric to be far cleaner, easier and more reliable.”

EnerSys estimates that since 2008, their customers that have converted to electric lift trucks have saved more than $126 million in fuel costs and have prevented more than 480 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

With the C2ESM program, EnerSys is harnessing their experience and methodology into a dedicated program to educate and guide businesses through the conversion process. If just 10 percent of the Chicago-area material handling equipment buyers switch to electric over the next two years, EnerSys estimates these end-users would collectively save more than $2 million in annual fuel costs, and prevent more than 7.8 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Research has shown two of the major reasons many businesses have not already converted to electric lift trucks are a lack of general awareness, and misconceptions of how today’s electric lift-trucks can perform. 

“We’ve found many customers’ perceptions of battery-powered lift trucks are based on outdated information,” says Tomaszewski. “Today’s electric trucks can lift the heaviest loads, and they can work indoors or outdoors in the harshest climates.”

Converting to electric also helps businesses meet immediate and long-term sustainability goals. Electric lift trucks produce zero on-site exhaust emissions, such as CO, CO2, and NOx, and nearly half the well-to-wheels CO2 as hydrogen fuel cell lift trucks. Batteries also provide a 98-percent recyclable power source, and a cleaner, safer work environment.

As part of the C2ESM program, trained experts will conduct a custom analysis for each interested business to calculate the exact combination of batteries and chargers needed for their specific operation. And soon, there will be an online calculator that will help customers estimate their savings, which can begin on “day one.”  The C2ESM program hits Chicago this week.