How to get the most from your electric forklift’s battery life


An electric forklift is compact, manoeuvrable and doesn’t give out dirty exhaust fumes, making it perfectly suited to a range of indoor materials handling operations. Energy efficient and economical to run, electric forklifts bypass the hassle and cost of purchasing fuel.

Running from a large battery, electric forklifts are charged (usually overnight) to keep them topped up with energy. These batteries are one of the most expensive components of forklift vehicles and need to be maintained properly, if you want to get the best from them.


Forklift batteries have a shelf life of around 1,500 cycles and should be handled correctly in order to make the most of this. Charged correctly, the lifespan of a forklift battery can be up to 5 years.

Here we’ve listed our top six maintenance dos and don’ts so that you can get the full potential from your forklift’s battery:

DON’T – charge simply for the sake of it or when the opportunity arises. Each time you charge an electric forklift battery you use another cycle, so plan your charging for the end of a shift and only charge the battery when it needs it (20% or lower).

DON’T – interrupt a charging cycle. Again, this will waste a cycle, so allow charging to be completed before disconnecting the battery and using the forklift again.

DON’T – overcharge the battery, as this can cause the lifespan to be reduced. Many battery-charging systems will automatically prevent this, but if yours doesn’t, then take extra care to disconnect it once your battery’s fully charged.


DO – check your battery fluid levels regularly and top them up, if you need to. Use distilled water and only add it at the end of a full charge cycle – never before.

DO – clean your batteries to prevent corrosion. Always rinse off any overflows immediately and clean the tops of your batteries every month or so with battery cleaner or warm water.

DO – charge your batteries in the right conditions. Charging in very cold or hot temperatures can damage a battery’s service life, so always check with a manufacturer what the recommended conditions are.


Looking after your electric forklift batteries might seem complicated at first, but it’s mainly about consistency and developing the right processes. Once your team have been informed of the correct way to do things, there’s no reason why charging and caring for your batteries shouldn’t form an integral part of your overall operations.

In addition to proper battery care, regular servicing helps keep your electric forklifts in top condition. Forklift services can prevent costly breakdowns and keep your vehicles running during their busiest periods. Talk to our team about arranging forklift servicing for your site.

Alternatively, to find out more about our vehicles for hire and sale, call us on 0113 393 2881 or email