Diesel has long been the UK’s favourite when it comes to forklifts… but all that is about to change. From 2022, the subsidy on red diesel used in forklift trucks will no longer apply.

“The resulting price rise will make diesel forklifts massively more expensive to operate and far less competitive than electric equivalents,” explains Stewart Gosling of RDD – exclusive UK distributors for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks.

“The figures speak for themselves,” he says. “Here’s a direct comparison based on a 30-hour week on the heavy duty VD160 test cycle (with a full load at full speed for 1 hour).

“Assuming the average per litre price of diesel remains the same as today (i.e., £1.28) then a modern Euro Stage V compliant 2.5 tonne diesel forklift would cost £118 per week in fuel. Add rental of say £115 per week and the total weekly operating cost would be £233.

“An equivalent electric doing the same shift will cost around £36 per week in energy plus rental of £135, giving a total weekly operating cost of £171 per week.

“That’s a weekly difference of £62. Extend that over a 5-year term (first year with tax relief and 4 years without) and simply by switching from diesel to electric you’d save a staggering £16,120.

“Apart from the inherent issues with diesel – it’s noisy, polluting, and has a very significant carbon footprint – it also cannot beat or even meet the advantages offered by the next-generation electrics pioneered by Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks.

“Indeed, the EDiA from Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks will do anything a diesel will do… only better.

“Electric trucks offer greater torque than diesel, can accelerate quicker and offer the same lift/lower speeds. Crucially though, that power is deployed far more precisely and effectively for greater productivity.”

Other manufacturers offer different modes to suit different situations, but designers at Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks have taken it to the next level with state-of-the art software that automatically adapts performance characteristics to the driving style and ability of each individual operator. So handling becomes totally intuitive.

Similarly, its Intelligent Cornering System calculates the speed, angle and load at the very start of a turn (rather than half-way through it, as with rival systems), and automatically adjusts truck speed to ensure optimum handling when cornering — maximising throughput and safety.

“You don’t get any of that on a diesel truck,” adds Stewart.

Even the flexibility offered by diesel when it comes to refuelling has been matched by electrics with lithium-ion delivering multi-shift working with no battery changes and no maintenance.

“As the end of the red diesel subsidy nears, my advice to truck buyers is to think about the make-up of your forklift fleet,” emphasises Stewart. “With so many benefits and capabilities, electric models certainly look to be the future-proof option.”

For more information on the full product range from Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks, or about lithium-ion battery technology visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk