How suitable are electric counterbalanced forklifts for outdoor work?

Picture of Benjamin Troussart

Benjamin Troussart

4 minutes to read

Li-ion , Electric counterbalanced forklifts

Outdoor operations require more durable forklifts to handle goods in a variety of conditions. Uneven pavement, dirty roads, and exposure to moisture can cause issues if your forklift fleet is not designed to face these challenges.

Electric trucks are known for their ease of use, clean technology, power, and silence. So, are they a good alternative for engine-powered counterbalanced trucks, that are commonly chosen for these tough working conditions? - The answer is yes, but you need to keep a few things in mind.

A stable drive, is a safe drive

Electric trucks come in 3 and 4-wheel models like Toyota’s Traigo range. The latter offers a more stable drive on uneven surfaces keeping up productivity and driver confidence. Pneumatic tyres offer great driving comfort, however PSC or pneumatic-shaped cushion tyres, which are common on electric trucks, provide a good balance between comfort and load capacity of the truck. They are also well-suited for outdoor usage. SAS, the system of active stability, standard fitted on Toyota electric forklifts, contributes to even more stability on flat and uneven floors.

Think of your drivers’ well-being

Do your drivers have to work in the rain, wind or cold? That sure isn’t a comfortable way of working. We can make sure your forklift drivers have a comfortable and warm workspace thanks to a closed cabin that can also fit a heater. When it comes to your preferred choice of cabin, an electric truck does not defer from an internal combustion one.

To increase safety in situations with poor visibility, such as dark areas or in rainy conditions, accessories such as wipers and lights can really be helpful.

What’s so great about electric trucks, is that they are silent and have a lower vibration level, making sitting in them or working around them more pleasant, no matter if you’re indoor or out.Traigo80 heavy-duty electric forklift truck

Work outdoors, store indoors

In normal working conditions, forklifts can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 to +40°C. However, depending on the situation, it might be needed to add certain equipment to guarantee full productivity. It is also recommended to not use the trucks in very bad weather conditions as visibility might be restricted, decreasing safety.

Always store electric trucks inside in dry conditions and around 20°C to ensure a long lifetime for your trucks and their battery components. The battery and electric components can be damaged by certain weather conditions like rain and snow, particularly if the truck is not in use. Variations in temperature can also weaken the battery and shorten its life.

We also recommend to charge lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries inside in temperatures ranging between +5 °C and +30 °C.Toyota Traigo80 electric forklift with Li-ion battery charging

Protection is a must in harsh conditions

Toyota Traigo electric trucks perform well in normal environmental conditions, but to guarantee high performance and durability during extensive outdoor usage in tough conditions, additional protection is advisable. Especially against water and dust (defined by the IP* level of the truck or its components). So, special work environments such as harbours, recycling, low-temperature regions… ask for extra protection of your forklifts:

  • for wet or humid conditions: additional protection against rust formation can be recommended to ensure critical components are well-protected and lifetime is increased
  • in sub-zero temperatures: special ‘cold store’ versions of our trucks are available to provide sufficient protection against freezing temperatures, these trucks have features like a heated display

Traigo80_3.5t cabin_loading lorry* What is IP?

IP code or Ingress Protection Code is defined in IEC standard 60529 which classifies and rates the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water. The first digit stands for the intrusion protection (scale 0-6, 6 meaning dust tight). The second digit stands for moisture protection (scale 0-9, 9 meaning protection against immersion on high pressure).

Example: the new Traigo80 motors are available with IP54:

  • Dust protection 5: limited ingress of dust permitted.
  • Water protection 4: protection against water splashes from all directions


To conclude, Toyota’s electric forklift trucks are certainly well-suited to operate indoors as well as outdoors in normal working conditions. On top of that, they are versatile, powerful, clean and silent.

It’s important to store them indoors after the shift, where they can be charged for the next day. We do recommend consulting our experts for advice in case of operating in dusty, cold or very wet environments.


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