Following the ban on red diesel earlier this year, companies of all sizes are having to use the more expensive white diesel and the currently soaring fuel prices are making this a double whammy on costs. On 1st of April this year it became illegal to put red diesel into any tank, vehicle or machine not covered by the new rules. The switch to white diesel increased fuel costs by about 47p per litre for businesses and organisations across the country.
In addition to this, the changes to legislation banning new petrol and diesel vehicles up to 3.5t from 2030, hybrid cars and vans over 3.5t from 2035 and HGVs from 2040, will affect more than just car and van owners. Pending legislation that will confirm that new commercial vehicles between 3.5t and 26t would have to be zero emission by 2035, with a further plan to phase out HGVs over 26t by 2040, businesses need to prepare to be more flexible and agile on their journey to sustainability.
Dawsongroup’s Smarter Asset Strategy offers the flexibility to adapt and budget with fixed costs and no unforeseen expenses. We manage the risk of ownership which is vital to place companies in good stead for their journey to net zero and acclimatise to the constantly changing legislation. Dawsongroup also provides you with the newest technology, allowing you to stay ahead of fast-moving industry changes.
Is Lithium the Right Choice?
As we look towards alternative fuel options, lithium is the current buzz word within the forklift industry. This technology in forklifts has become more prevalent over the last few years, particularly in recent times with the push towards electric vehicles in society in general.
Although lithium batteries are significantly more expensive to buy than lead-acid, they have a number of potential benefits to customers with the right applications. They have a rapid charging time that allows ‘opportunity charging’ to regenerate a large percentage of the battery capacity in short spaces of time, for example, during lunch breaks. The fact these batteries can be opportunity charged means they are ideal for companies working their forklifts for a high number of hours during shifts. Traditionally, these types of companies would have had to invest in spare batteries and charging systems, which can be very expensive, if they were to use lead-acid.
Lithium batteries are also maintenance free, unlike lead-acid batteries, which require operators to carry out regular maintenance on them. Lastly, battery manufacturers suggest that the lifespan of lithium batteries is considerably longer than the lead-acid alternative, which could reduce the lifetime cost when buying these types of truck.
Lithium isn’t the right option for everyone and there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Having sufficient infrastructure in place to cope with the additional draw of power required to charge these batteries, and the change of culture required by forklift operators to make the opportunity charging process work, are two such factors. Lithium batteries are also more difficult to work on if they have issues, meaning trucks could be off the road longer than their lead-acid counterparts would be. Finally, the environmental implications of how the raw materials for these batteries are obtained and the fact that these batteries are very difficult to recycle may raise concerns for companies who value sustainability.
The Lead-Acid Alternative
Alternatively, lead-acid batteries are a much cheaper option that uses tried and trusted technology, meaning you know what you are getting. For businesses that have smaller scale operations, there is no need to pay for the more expensive lithium option as the run time for lead-acid will be sufficient without having to charge during shifts. Although these batteries require regular maintenance, when carried out properly this will prolong the life of the battery, giving them a long lifespan. On the other side of the coin, if this maintenance isn’t carried out properly it can become costly, so having effective processes in place to ensure this is key.
Unlike lithium, lead-acid poses very few environmental issues as about 97% of these batteries can be recycled and reused in new batteries, which helps towards companies’ sustainability goals. Lastly, the high availability of these batteries and ease of repair when they do have issues ensures the maximum level of up-time. This makes them an attractive proposition for smaller companies who may only have one or two trucks on site.
Futureproof Your Business
“Although many companies may gravitate towards the most talked about option – lithium – our Smarter Asset Strategy evaluates the best solution to suit your business application,” said Adam Reaney, Field Sales Manager for Dawsongroup | material handling. “Both options equally have their positives and negatives, which is why it is vital to be fully informed so you can make the correct decision for your business.”
The impact the change to zero emission vehicles will make on material handling will be colossal to how businesses operate moving forward. Although the diesel ban doesn’t affect us yet, in the near future diesel vehicles will have a lower residual value as they become less in demand the closer we move towards the 2030 deadline. If companies don’t start futureproofing now, they could risk falling behind competitors and getting stuck with depreciating assets.
Whichever option is best for your business, Dawsongroup | material handling is your trusted advisor. Let us come to your site and understand your operations and applications in order to advise you about the best possible solution. We understand the market is changing and want to help futureproof your business.
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