Managing a forklift fleet isn’t an easy task. You have to monitor your trucks vigilantly to assure there is no risk of machine abuse or threat of an accident on the site, as well as remaining OSHA compliant. There’s the ever-present need to avoid downtime and growing movement towards “efficiency,” which can seem like a vague term that’s hard to pin down.
Fuel Cells – Making the Job Easier
One way to help make the job of managing a fleet easier and more efficient is to stop buying batteries and investing in fuel cell technology for your fleet. Why fuel cells? According to a study by the Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] independent, educational organization), “Fuel cell users are saving money on fuel and labor costs, lowering emissions, and yielding substantial energy savings through increased efficiency and reliability.”
Keywords in that quote that likely caught your eye might have been “saving money” and “increased efficiency and reliability,” which is exactly what makes fuel cell technology so attractive – it reduces cost and increases productivity, a ratio any fleet manager will appreciate.
Out With The Old Technology, In With The New
Batteries are, almost literally, dead when compared with fuel cells. Batteries have a high upfront expense, require constant charging (meaning they also require a large portion of your warehouse to charge and store them), trucks doing multiple shifts or jobs will require extra batteries, and performance can wane as a battery ages.
Fuel cells, however, can operate for entire six to eight hour shifts on one tank of hydrogen with no voltage sag or waning performance. Fuel cells can also easily be refueled by the vehicle operator, which increases productivity. And, since fuel cells don’t need to be swapped out and charged, as batteries do, this suddenly frees up more space in the warehouse, because you can get rid of all of those charging and storage areas and repurpose them as you see fit.
Stefano Zenezini, a vice president of Procter & Gamble, nicely sums up the financial and environmental benefits of utilizing fuel cell technology instead of battery operated forklifts, saying, “Fuel cell forklifts can be a financially attractive proposition that increases productivity while helping us reach our sustainability vision. We can not only achieve [our vision] but can also achieve an attractive rate of return on our investment at the same time.”