Welcome to CenterPoint Energy's Electric Forklifts Program!

If you are a business that operates electric forklifts AND/OR have some old propane/diesel forklifts you would like to convert into electrics, then this site is for you! During your visit to this site, you will learn about electric forklifts, and what types of grants might be available to an end-user that runs an electric fleet of forklifts.

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Contact info:
Ambika Melville
ICF International
Office: 713-445-2025
Email: Ambika.melville@icf.com

Background

The overall strategy of the Electric Forklifts Program is to help the Houston area come into compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) of 1999 by reducing harmful emissions. With the Houston area being in nonattainment of the 8-hour ozone requirements set forth in the FCAA, popularity and market penetration of electric forklifts has increased.

Through regular partnerships with forklift and battery dealers, the program has managed to have success with increasing general market awareness of electric forklifts. Training sessions for all of the area’s forklift dealers has been offered and conducted as requested. Using the vast number of existing and planned manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing facilities in the Houston area, the Electric Forklifts Program has achieved success with these businesses due to the additional number of new electric forklifts that have come online in the past couple of years.

In addition to working with many of these companies, the program leverages a state of Texas incentive program called the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program, which is administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The TERP program pays grant money to businesses and end users who purchase and operate electric forklifts rather than propane or diesel. Grant money is also available for businesses that want to replace an old propane or diesel unit with a new electric unit as well as electric infrastructure projects.

Since the Electric Forklifts Program began, nearly 100 applications have been reviewed and submitted to the state, which included a total of over 200 forklifts and almost $4 million dollars in requested grant money.

Benefits of Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts have been around since early in the 20th century, but only in the past several years has the market share and desire for electric forklifts started to noticeably increase. Of course, there has always been a need for some electric forklifts in the market due to safety and health requirements, but as concerns about pollution and air quality have increased, so has the focus on electric technology in forklifts. With the improving technology of the forklifts themselves along with the batteries and chargers, electric forklifts are now lasting longer and are more versatile than ever.

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Electric forklifts have fewer maintenance requirements, lower fuel costs, provide a safer and quieter work environment with a cleaner overall work atmosphere, and exhibit significant environmental benefits for the greater Houston metropolitan area. According to industry publications, electric forklifts enjoy the following benefits:

  • Less maintenance – Electric forklifts have fewer moving parts, no engine fluids and hoses, and require less time and expense to maintain. When compared to an equivalent internal-combustion forklift, an electric forklift has about 90% less moving parts.
  • Lower fuel consumption – Electric forklifts reduce exposure to increasing diesel and LPG fuel prices and volatility. With electric forklifts, you simply plug-in the machine to charge the battery and move on! In fact, rapid- charged or "opportunity" charged, forklifts allow a top-off charge within 15 to 30 minutes, which is convenient during lunches or breaks.
  • Safer and more efficient work environment – Rapid charge electric forklifts can reduce accidents by up to 20 percent, and can eliminate the need for a battery room, battery handling equipment, and an attendant. Rapid chargers can be strategically placed around the workplace for added convenience.
  • Less noise – Electric forklifts are quieter while lifting or transporting products, making them less likely to contribute to noise-related accidents. By reducing the noise in a given area, workers can easily pay better attention to what is going on around them.
  • Cleaner work atmosphere and reduced emissions – Electric forklifts produce zero local emissions, therefore they will not add exhaust particulates to the immediate work areas, and they will not add NOx emissions into the Houston area’s air.

Rapid Charge vs. Conventional Charge Electric Forklifts

Depending on the type of business you have can determine which type of electric forklift works best for your operation. There are two main methods for charging electric forklifts – rapid charge and conventional charge.

Rapid charge electric forklifts are often referred to as “opportunity” charge or “fast” charge because they allow the operator to pull up to a charging station and plug-in the forklift while on break or eating lunch. This gives the battery a “quick” charge, and allows the operator to resume his/her duties after taking a short break. In addition, the operator is more likely to stay in his/her area because rapid charge stations are often located throughout a facility, rather than in one place keeping the operator from having to make a drive to a battery changing area since the battery stays on the forklift. Rapid charge forklifts can be used in several different types of operations.

Conventional charge electric forklifts use batteries that are charged using the triple-8 cycle, which means the operator uses the battery for eight hours, then charges the battery for eight hours, and then allows the battery to cool for eight hours. Conventional charge stations will use less demand energy, but the energy will be a low constant flow of energy due to batteries always needing to be charged throughout a day’s 24 hours. Conventional charge forklifts can be used for any type of operation, and still represent the majority of types of electric forklifts sold.

Outdoor Electric Forklifts

Class 4 and 5 forklifts (internal-combustion powered by diesel or LPG) are typically used in construction, agriculture, manufacturing, large warehousing, recycling, beverage and bottling, trucking, and garden supply operations. They are also used in the manufacturing and processing operations of paper and allied products; lumber and wood products; building supplies; stone, clay, and glass products; and primary metal products. Forklifts equipped for outdoor work differ in several ways from indoor forklifts.

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Outdoor electric forklifts’ features often include pneumatic tires that improve ride and handling on rough and uneven surfaces; enclosed motors and electronic systems to ensure safe operation in inclement weather and heavy dust; and optional climate control of the operator compartment. Indoor trucks typically use solid or cushion tires, do not require weatherproofing, and may require less lifting capacity.

Class 1 electric pneumatic forklifts can be used in similar applications to Class 4 or Class 5 forklifts. Technology now exists for bigger electric forklifts, and these forklifts are readily available from manufacturers. Lifting capacities of electric outdoor forklifts can be up to 12,000 lbs.

Cost Analysis

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The chart below reflects the differences between the various technologies and is self-explanatory. As shown, the electric forklifts are much more cheaper and cost-effective to own.

To download the document, right-click and Save As. Please feel free to change the numbers within the document so they reflect the actual usage for your business.

Cost Analysis: Electric vs Propane Forklifts

TERP Program

The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) was established by the state of Texas Legislature in 2001 in response to the FCAA, and is administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The TERP Program focuses on reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx), a pollutant that contributes to smog and acid rain in certain nonattainment counties around the state. Eligible counties in the Houston area where applications will be accepted are: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.

Because the Houston region fails to meet the federal air quality standard for ozone, emission reducing projects, including projects using zero-emission electric forklifts, receive a significant portion of the funding. During the open Request for Applications period, several types of grant applications are accepted by TCEQ. The Electric Forklifts Program focuses on three applications:

  • New purchase (also fleet expansion) - Forklift users interested in buying electric forklifts can apply to receive up to 100% of the incremental cost difference between an electric forklift (including extra batteries) versus an equivalent propane or diesel unit.
  • Replacement - Users can qualify for up to 80% of the entire purchase price of a new electric forklift when converting an older propane or diesel unit. The forklift user has to also commit to have the old equipment scrapped in order to make sure the forklift can never be used again.
  • Electrical Infrastructure - Forklift users can apply for up to 50% of the associated electric infrastructure costs (e.g., battery chargers, electrical wiring, safety equipment, etc.).

All applications must be reviewed and accepted by TCEQ on a case by case basis. Actual grant amounts and percentages vary depending on equipment type, size, cost, age, number of hours operated annually, etc.

Should you be interested in scheduling a meeting to discuss this opportunity, please submit a request for a meeting through the Contact tab. You can also contact Ambika Melville directly via phone at 713-445-2025 or email at Ambika.melville@icf.com.

Timeline

The TERP Program’s process can vary from one application period to the next. The timeline is dependant on the number of applications received versus how much money is in the budget. There are no guarantees your application will be approved; however, after scheduling a meeting to discuss the requirements for submitting an application, any uneasiness about applying can be resolved.

Testimonials

"Had our forklift dealer and CenterPoint Energy not mentioned the TERP Program to us, we would have never known about it. We were able to expand our fleet by 15 forklifts. The benefit we will see is a better overall work environment inside our distribution warehouse. Thanks to CenterPoint Energy for all of their help!" - Don Arter, Director, 99 Cents Only

"For years, Silver Eagle has focused on reducing emissions in the Houston area by using electric equipment where we can and using the most up-to-date emissions reducing technologies on our trucks. We’re glad to see CenterPoint Energy take a lead role in the Houston area that helps to reduce emissions." - Ed Pritchard, VP Fleet Management, Silver Eagle Distributors

"We were excited when CenterPoint Energy approached about replacing our old LP forklifts with brand new electric forklifts. What made the deal even better was that the TERP Program helped with our upfront costs. We have noticed immediate benefits for doing this, such as a cleaner warehouse and much less noise." - Eric Baud, VP Operations, ChemPak

Forklift Dealers

CAT logo
jungheinrich logo
CAT logo
Kalmar logo
barrett logo

Adobe Equipment Texas

Caterpillar
Nissan
Jungheinrich
Kalmar
Barrett

7607 Wallisville Road
Houston, TX 77020
(713) 675-1552

CAT logo
jungheinrich logo
CAT logo
Kalmar logo
barrett logo

Action Handling Systems

Caterpillar
Nissan
Jungheinrich
Kalmar
Barrett

5333 Werner
Houston, TX 77022
(713) 697-3033

toyota logo

Toyota Lift of Houston

Toyota

7110 North Freeway
Houston, TX 77076
713-675-7000

crown logo

Crown Lift Trucks - Houston

Crown

1650 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. East
Houston, TX 77032-3032
281-985-0300

raymond logo

Malin Integrated Handling Solutions and Design

Raymond

5050 Cranswick Rd.
Houston, TX 77041
713-690-5050

yale logo

Briggs Equipment, Inc.

Yale

8787 Wallisville Rd.
Houston, TX 77029
713-672-1100

hyster logo

Stewart & Stevenson Material Handling - Gulf Coast Division

Hyster

8787 East Freeway
Houston, TX 77029
713-671-6300

clark logo
doosan logo

Equipment Depot

Clark
Doosan

700 West Cavalcade
Houston, Texas 77009
(713) 869-6801

komat'su logo
doosan logo

Sunbelt Industrial Truck

Komatsu

300 Bammel Westfield Rd.
Houston, TX 77090
281-895-5438

mitsubishi logo

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks of Houston

Mitsubishi

10795 Hammerly Blvd., Ste. 350
Houston, TX 77043
713-365-7600

Contact Us

For questions, please contact:

Contact info:
Ambika Melville
ICF International
Office: 713-445-2025
Email: Ambika.melville@icf.com