Fork it over


Hangcha’s new lithium forklifts are efficient, affordable, and readily available in Australia. Daniel Anderson, National Sales Manager for Hangcha Australia, talks MHD through the range.

As the supply of machinery worldwide continues its struggle in a post-pandemic landscape, investing in the latest and greatest in forklift technology might be the last thing on the minds of many in the logistics space.

Obtaining any forklift at all in a timely manner is a tall order – who has time to worry about the latest battery technology, or reducing the emissions of their fleet?

That’s where Hangcha Australia comes in. The business has recently introduced a new line of efficient lithium-battery-powered forklifts, and National Sales Manager Daniel Anderson says Hangcha has machines ready to go. 

“We’ve got heaps in stock, and the build times are quick too,” he says. “Even straight out of the factory, we can deliver in around three months. That’s a big advantage because some of our competitors are still looking at one-to-three-year lead times.” 

Daniel attributes this to the Chinese company’s preparedness and nimbleness throughout the COVID-19 years.

“Some parts shortages did hit us at the start, but we were able to recover really quickly,” he says. “We had processes in place which meant we weren’t reliant on any one manufacturer, whether it was for engines or chips or controllers. So that enabled us to not really skip a beat.” 

Though only establishing an Australian presence in November 2022, Hangcha draws on more than 60 years of experience in the global material handling space. The company currently manufactures more than 250,000 pieces of warehouse equipment each year at its state-of-the-art facility in Li-an, Zhejiang province.

The lithium difference

Daniel says that for Hangcha, the push towards lithium technology has been largely market driven, and improved affordability is a big factor. And there are now a range of compelling benefits to making the switch, whether from gas or diesel-powered units, or even older lead acid battery models.

The lead acid batteries used in traditional electric forklifts require regular watering – especially in heavy-usage situations – and need to be charged in open areas with good airflow.

“These wet cell batteries will often need to be watered once a week,” Daniel says. “The big disadvantage with that is they can be overfilled or underfilled, so there’s a risk of acid spillage.

Hangcha's lithium battery forklifts are in hot demand.
Hangcha’s lithium battery forklifts are in hot demand.

“And you’ll probably only get around 1300 cycles on average out of them. The lithium models we’re bringing in will give you 4000-5000 cycles, require no watering or maintenance, and you can charge them inside.”

Daniel says lithium batteries also offer better flexibility when it comes to charge times, and can comfortably be charged intermittently without compromising the life expectancy of the battery.

What’s more, Daniel says Hangcha’s purpose-built lithium forklifts are now on-par with some of the market-leading gas models in terms of pricing.

“Price was always a barrier with lithium forklifts, but that’s no longer a problem,” he says. “The return on investment is almost immediate too, because running an electric forklift is a lot cheaper than running one on gas or diesel.”

Daniel says these benefits are available without the oversized price tag, meaning Hangcha’s lithium forklifts are a viable option even for smaller operators.

“From a Hangcha perspective, our lithium models don’t come at a huge premium – it’s only a few thousand dollars difference,” he says. “Then you’ve got all the green advantages as well. They’re more environmentally friendly, no gas or fuel required. And you’ll still get eight to 10 hours run time on the battery too.”

Seeing it at CeMAT

For those on the fence about putting their money down for what might be an unfamiliar brand, the Hangcha Australia team was out in force at CeMAT 2023 in Sydney from 25-27 July. Here, Daniel says the manufacturer’s full range of equipment was on display, with product experts on hand to discuss all things material handling.

“We had everything from pallet trucks, ride-on counterbalance units, reach trucks – including a brand-new stand-on pantograph double-deep reach truck – and 10 or 11 lithium units on the stand,” he says.

The Hangcha Australia team showed their wares at CeMAT 2023 in Sydney.

For what was the manufacturer’s first major showing at an event in Australia, Daniel says getting the Hangcha name out there was the primary focus.

“Hangcha has been in the Australian market for over 20 years, but re-branded under a range of different names, so you didn’t know it was a Hangcha you were driving,” he says. “Now, it’s about being proud of the Hangcha name. The quality of the product speaks for itself, so we wanted to give people a chance to come and sit on the machines and see for themselves.

“Chinese products used to be the budget option – and the pricing is certainly still low – but the quality has come along in leaps and bounds. There’s really no gap in the market anymore.” 

For more information on Hangcha, click here

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