Electric vs Diesel – Which is Right for Your Business?


Diesel power has been steadily phased out over a number of years in favor of electrically-powered warehouse equipment. So is it time your warehouse switched to electric machinery? Well, that depends on the type of goods and materials being handled at your facility. In some cases, diesel is still the leading source of horsepower for the warehousing industry, while in other instances a shift to electrically-powered equipment has been the better option.

Material Handling Systems – What is The Correct Format For You?

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are stationary pieces of warehouse equipment like your pallet shelves, others are mobile machinery such as forklifts, grabs, and tow tractors (depending on the nature of your business). 

If you are looking to equip your warehousing facility with an automated pallet racking system (which also includes conveyors and similar programmable machinery) then obviously electricity is the only choice when it comes to power sources. Advice from Oregon-based Speedrack West is that any major changes to warehouse equipment and infrastructure should be carried out by a qualified specialist, and after careful analysis of current business practices.

As an aside, you might wish to give some thought to installing a diesel or LPG powered back-up generator to cover possible power outages at your facility. A back-up power source will allow your material handling systems to stay operational during electrical outages, thus minimizing any downtime you might have to incur. 

Lifting And Towing Equipment – Should You Opt For Electrical Or Diesel?

When it comes to lifting and towing equipment (meaning forklifts, grabbers, tow tractors etc.) there always two sides to the story. The argument can be easily settled though by determining what you need to do with your equipment.

Obviously, certain examples of heavy-duty lifting and towing equipment (at this stage) can only be powered by the brute force produced by a turbo diesel engine. 

Forklifts though tend to be an exception as these machines can be powered by diesel, LPG, or electricity. Numerous examples of electric forklifts are widely available, and at quite reasonable priced these days as well. 

In the case of grabbers, again you have two viable options – diesel or electric. Many operators opt for the electric version of this heavy-duty tool while others tend to stick to diesels. Regional restrictions might apply where you operate, so the choice between diesel and electric might already be predetermined. Consult the relevant authorities before making any major decisions in this department. 

The ‘Green’ Factor

Operating in today’s world has surely made many warehousing facilities greener than before. If you are an environmentally aware operator, then the chances are you would be looking to minimize your business’s carbon footprint. This is a good idea on many levels as today governments tend to reward green businesses via reduced taxation or more favorable access financial/material resources. 

Switching from diesel to electrically-powered equipment at your facility might seem like a great idea at first glance, and it is. Keep in mind though that electricity is derived by different means and not all of them are sustainable or renewable sources. As an environmentally aware operator, you also need to know where your electrical power comes from. 

Nowadays, many industrial power suppliers provide information on how their electricity is generated and whether it is delivered to users in the most efficient and environmentally sparing way. If you think there is a better supplier out there (and one that is more cost effective for your business) then make the switch today and enjoy greener electricity at a better price.