Caterpillar EP5000 – Electric Pneumatic Forklift Review

Cat Lift TruckCat EP5000

EP5000

Three Stage Mast

Sideshift

80V

Built by Jungheinrich

In 2009 Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklifts of America became the exclusive distributor of Jungheinrich electric forklifts in North America.  Cat Lift Truck’s newer line of electric pneumatic forklifts are a direct result of this distribution and manufacturing relationship.  Cat Lift Truck dealers across the US have been steadily finding success with the Jungheinrich built, Cat branded machines, and also with the Jungheinrich branded narrow aisle lift trucks.

The Cat EP5000 is being marketed as an alternative to traditional internal combustion pneumatic tire and cushion tire fork trucks.  Cat touts that the EP5000 will have less maintenance costs and lower fuel costs over the life of the truck than its internal combustion rivals.  The user will also find a quieter and cleaner running machine with the electric pneumatics.

Some obstacles salesmen and women are having to overcome are the upfront costs of the batteries and the chargers.  The Cat EP5000 uses an 80 volt battery and a charger to match.  Combined, the cost of these two items, excluding the actual lift truck,  is in the mid to high teens.  However, if the customer can be convinced that a higher upfront cost will save them time, hassle, and money throughout the life of the machine, we think many users will end up preferring the electric pneumatic forklifts.

Here are a few highlights from our review of the Cat EP5000.  The machine we looked at was built in 2011 and is equipped with a three stage mast and a sideshift attachment.

1. Smooth and quiet ride.  The AC motors offer very quiet operation when driving, steering, and lifting.  AC motors also require less maintenance than older electric lift truck technology.

2. Comfortable seat and operator controls.  Finger tip controls are standard and include an armrest for the operator.  Less operator fatigue leads to fewer errors and forklift accidents.

3. Smooth lifting and sideshift operation.

A couple downsides:

1. Upfront cost of the battery and charger

2. Need to learn how to best maintain a large forklift battery.  Not difficult but different than maintaining an IC forklift

3. Must hire a qualified forklift dealer to performance maintenance and repairs.  The electrical systems are much more difficult and dangerous to fix than an IC engine.

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Posted in Lift Truck Reviews

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